Cazorla’s Hat Trick Lifts Arsenal to 5-2 League Win at Reading

Santi Cazorla scored three goals and set up another as Arsenal won 5-2 at last-place Reading to rise to fifth place in English soccer’s Premier League.

Lukas Podolski put the Gunners ahead at the Madejski Stadium last night, and Cazorla’s hat trick made it 4-0. Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe got goals for the home team in the last 24 minutes before Cazorla teed up Theo Walcott to complete the scoring with 10 minutes remaining.

Arsenal rebounded from last week’s League Cup upset loss to fourth-tier Bradford City with its biggest away win of the season to move up three places ahead of Everton and West Bromwich Albion on goal difference. All three teams have 27 points through 17 matches.

“At 4-0 we had a little wobbling period,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in a televised interview with Sky Sports. “But overall it was important to go out and play and give the right answer on the football pitch.”

Reading remains bottom of the 20-team standings with nine points after its sixth straight league defeat.

German striker Podolski opened the scoring in the 14th minute before attacking midfielder Cazorla added two goals in two minutes with a header and close-range finish to give Arsenal a 3-0 lead at halftime.

Cazorla got his third on the hour to become the third Spanish player to score a Premier League hat trick after Fernando Torres and Jordi Gomez, according to Infostrada Sports.

After Reading hit back with goals from Le Fondre and Kebe, Cazorla fed Walcott, who was given a central striking role by Wenger, and the England forward sidestepped a defender before placing a low shot into the far corner.

Wenger said he selected Walcott as a center-forward after the 23-year-old, who’s in talks over a contract extension, showed his ability to play in the position during training.

“I enjoyed playing up front and the boss gave me that opportunity,” Walcott told Sky Sports. “I thought I did very well and the players around me always make my job easier. We showed people the true Arsenal.”

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