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Giroud: Set to return

Giroud: Set to return

Arsenal will have the chance to climb to within two points of fourth-place when they host Premier League whipping boys Reading at the Madejski Stadium on Monday evening.

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The Gunners have been well below their best this season and have won just one of their last six matches in all competition, a 2-0 success over West Brom at the beginning of December.

Their most recent outing saw Arsene Wenger's men crash to defeat against League Two side Bradford in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals to leave the north London club's title aspirations hanging by a thread.

But while the Arsenal sit eighth in the standings at the start of play this week, a win over the Royals would leave them just to two points adrift from fourth placed Tottenham, who climbed into the final Champions League qualifying position with a 1-0 win over Swansea on Sunday.

Reading, meanwhile, will need something special to take all three points away from the tie, with Brian McDermott's men having registered just one top-flight victory this term.

That run has left them rock-bottom, although even a point on Monday would be enough to hoist them off the foot at the expense of Queens Park Rangers.

However, the last time the two sides met was in the League Cup, where Reading let a 4-0 lead slip to eventually lose 7-5 to the Gunners.

On the team front, Reading could welcome Jason Roberts and Pavel Pogrebnyak back from injury, but Jimmy Kebe and Jem Karacan only just returned to training and are unlikely to be considered.

For the visitors, Olivier Giroud is set to return after missing out the League Cup defeat with a back strain, while contract rebel Theo Walcott (calf) will be handed a late fitness test.

Posted: 17/12/12 10:43

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