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Aaron Ramsey
Ramsey scored the winner against Hull City in the final last seasonGetty Images

Arsenal take on Reading in the first semi-final of the FA Cup as the Gunners look to keep their challenge alive in the race to retain their trophy.

Where to Watch Live

Kick-off is set for 5.20pm BST. Live coverage of the game will be available on BBC One and BBC One HD.

Overview

Arsenal come into the competition on a winning run since the start of their FA Cup campaign in 2014 against Tottenham where they beat them 2-0 at the Emirates. Since then the Gunners have won every single game, including ones against Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United to reach their second semi-final in as many years.

It was an emotional moment for the Gunners when they beat Hull City to win the Cup, which was their first in over nine years.

Their move to the Emirates had seriously depleted their cash reserves which had put a major toll on their transfers and eventual success, especially with Chelsea, United and Manchester City ruling the league with their increasing cash reserves.

However, as fate would have it, in spite of having beaten more decorated rivals over the course of the campaign, they faced their biggest hurdle in the semi-finals against Wigan.

The Championship club took them to extra time and penalties on their first visit to the Wembley since that debacle in 2011 when they lost the Capital One Cup final to Birmingham owing to some suicidal defending by Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsene Wenger has to bring his team in tune with the threat posed by Reading and will be well advised to not take them lightly as the Gunners look to add a second trophy this season after they beat Manchester City to win the Community Shield.

Meanwhile, the Championship club have the chance to redeem their floundering season in what is by far the high point of their campaign. Steve Clarke has failed to get his team to fire in the Championship, currently 18th in the league, two rungs below what Nigel Adkins was sacked for.

They have won only once in their last six games and recent form between the two teams suggest that the Gunners will make easy meal of their opposition. However, like they say, at Wembley, form goes out of the window and with Reading having nothing to lose in the fixture, they can go all out to give Arsenal a real scare and maybe come out with a story to tell of their own.

The last time these two teams met in a cup competition, the Gunners were 4-0 down at half-time, to win the contest 5-7 taking the game to extra time.

What Managers Say

Arsene Wenger: "We know that it (semi-final) is always tricky. We have learnt from Wigan last year. The urgency level will be quite high in our team. Reading have many players who have the experience in the Premier League. They have a very efficient style, who go a lot for crosses, so for us they can be a danger going forward."

Steve Clarke: "If you make mistakes in possession and give the ball away to Arsenal they will punish you. If you make silly mistakes in and around your own box they have got players that will capitalise on those chances. Maybe in the Championship you can make two or three mistakes in a game and the opposition are not quite good enough to take those chances. But you know if you make them against a top team they will take them – and we have to be aware of that."

Betting Odds (By 888Sport.com)

  • Arsenal Win: 1/4
  • Draw: 5
  • Reading Win: 25/2

Team News

Arsenal

Possible XI: Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Coquelin, Ramsey; Welbeck, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud

Reading

Possible XI: Federici; Gunter, Hector, Pearce, Obita; McCleary; Norwood, Karacan, Robson-Kanu; Cox, Pogrebnyak