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5 Things We Can Expect From The Semi-Final Against Arsenal

We all know what we're going to get on Saturday evening, but just in case you're unaware let Hoops walk you through it.

Cazorla merking Pearce. Expected.
Cazorla merking Pearce. Expected.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Arsenal. They're a team right at the top of the footballing pyramid. A massive stadium, a huge fanbase, money (eventually) coming out of their ears and world-class players dotted throughout the squad.

Reading. A team only just staving off relegation from the Championship. An adequate stadium, small fanbase, FFP and their sanctions overshadowing every move and not a single 'excellent' player to be found in the squad.

It's a mismatch. A mismatch of such epic proportions that we all know exactly what's going to happen.

1. Reading will be markedly better than their league form may suggest

It's the story of our cup run this season. Nothing more than average-at-best in the league campaign, as soon as the 'FA Cup' precedes the fixture the players seem to step up their game tenfold. A team that has failed to score in 8 of their last 12 games will probably go to Wembley against Arsenal and score at least once. Just because that's the way it will be.

2. Arsenal will show us why we're not near the Premiership

If you're expecting a Bradford-second-leg-esque performance from the Royals on Saturday evening you're likely to have a screw loose somewhere. I'd check your shelves at home.

Arsenal are second in the Premier League and on absolutely incredible form. I can't remember the last game they lost and with players like Sanchez, Cazorla, Ozil and not to mention Giroud all cutting through Premier League defences with ease I expect this to be a lesson in 'how to show you're the real deal'. Of course I could be wrong and this whole tongue-in-cheek piece could come back to bite my backside harder than that dog that bit me eight years ago did. Time will tell.

3. Steve Clarke will pull a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ face

Anyone who has ever been on Reddit will be familiar with the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ face. It's a face that simply says, "Eh, we gave it our best shot but really we weren't going to win this." Or, "What are you going to do? That's life." Or, "I don't even know." Any of the previous could be applicable after the game on Saturday, but we're likely to see this expression come across our stiff Scot at least once.

4. Arsene Wenger will talk about how it was a "difficult game" without meaning it

Arsene Wenger. He's managed Arsenal for God knows how many years and has led them through a difficult period in their history with a string of Top Four finishes. For that he deserves kudos. What he deserves vitriol for the absolute rubbish (I could have used two handfuls of expletives there) he spouts in post-match conferences. Everything from, "I did not see that incident," to, "I do not wish to talk about the referee. But the referee was awful."

In a similar vein, he's likely to say the game against Reading was "difficult" and that the club "shouldn't be a team in the position they are in the Championship". Come back to this piece after the game. It's almost guaranteed.

5. We will all wake up with horrific hangovers on Sunday morning

No matter what the result—you may have gathered I think we'll be slaughtered—every Reading fan is likely to wake up on Sunday morning with a stinking hangover. Okay, perhaps not EVERY Reading fan, but I'd say 70%+ will. If we win, there's cause of celebrations. If we lose, there's cause for commiserations. In fact, I think a lot of fans will be in a hangover-worthy state before the game even kicks off, such is the occasion.

Heck, the players themselves might even come across as having had one too many when they face them Gooners.