Theo Walcott scored a scintillating hat-trick as Arsenal produced one of the great comebacks to take their place in the last eight of the League Cup.

Jason Roberts, a Laurent Koscielny own goal, Mikele Leigertwood and Noel Hunt put Reading 4-0 up after 35 minutes.

Walcott found the net before the break and in injury time, while Olivier Giroud and Koscielny also struck.

Into the history books

  • It is not the first time Reading have been beaten 7-5. The Royals, despite four goals from Kerry Dixon, lost by the same scoreline at Third Division opponents Doncaster Rovers in September 1982
  • Reading versus Arsenal was the first League Cup game to be 4-4 at 90 minutes since Port Vale verses Chester in August 1999
  • Reading have faced Arsenal on 10 occasions in all competitions and have lost every one of them
  • Source: Opta

Marouane Chamakh scored in extra-time before Pavel Pogrebnyak levelled, but Walcott and Chamakh had the final word.

It was an extraordinary cup tie, the archetypal game of two halves. Reading were magnificent for 44 and a half minutes before Walcott scored his first goal to give the Gunners hope.

During the first half, Arsenal looked set to be on the end of a Sunday League scoreline with what resembled a Sunday League performance.

And yet somehow Arsene Wenger's side produced a scarcely believable comeback to recover from three goals down for the first time in their history and take their place in the quarter-finals for the 10th successive season.

They created for themselves an utter disaster and somehow rose to find hope, and with it, power, purpose and direction.

When they were trailing 4-0 Saturday's Premier League trip to Old Trafford, the scene of last season's 8-2 humbling at the hands of Manchester United, looked a daunting prospect but now this result has the hallmarks of a turning point.

Wenger proud of Walcott display

That it was left to Chamakh, starting his first Arsenal match since January, to score two crucial goals made it all the more incredible.

At the club's annual general meeting last week, Wenger had made it clear the League Cup was fifth on his list of priorities and during the first half his players appeared to have taken those words a little too literally.

Arsenal made 11 changes but that did not excuse the naivety with which Carl Jenkinson, Johan Djourou, Koscielny and Ignasi Miquel defended before half-time.

The Reading onslaught began in the 11th minute when Hunt, midway inside the Arsenal half, swept the ball wide to Hal Robson-Kanu on the left flank and his delightful low cross was thumped into the net by Roberts, who left Koscielny, his marker, all too easily.

Six minutes later, Reading were two up as Chris Gunter's low cross deflected off Koscielny's leg and beyond Arsenal goalkeeper Damian Martinez at the near post.

Great football comebacks

Premier League, Newcastle 4-4 Arsenal, 5 February, 2011

Arsenal led 3-0 inside 10 minutes at St James' Park and 4-0 at half-time but were pegged back with Cheick Tiote's stunning late volley capping the comeback.

Champions League final, Liverpool 3-3 AC Milan, 25 May, 2005

Liverpool were down and out after going into half-time 3-0 down but scored three times in six minutes to turn the game on its head.

FA Cup fourth round, Tottenham 3-4 Manchester City, 4 February, 2004.

Spurs were 3-0 ahead at half-time before Joey Barton was sent off. But somehow City fought back and Jon Macken scored a dramatic late winner.

Premier League, Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United, 29 September 2001.

Again Spurs went in at half-time 3-0 ahead but were ripped apart in the second half by a breathtaking United performance.

FA Cup final, Blackpool 4-3 Bolton, Wembley, 2 May, 1953.

Bolton had led 3-1 and, were still leading with three minutes to go until Stan Mortensen and Bill Perry struck.

The full house at the Madejski could scarcely believe its eyes as Leigertwood fired in from the edge of the area, thanks in large part to an awful error by Martinez.

And a fourth followed 15 minutes later when Hunt headed in Garath McCleary's right-wing cross.

The travelling support had seen enough. Chants of "we want our Arsenal back" rang round the stadium and the response was immediate, Walcott reducing the arrears in first-half stoppage time as he raced on to Andrey Arshavin's through ball before lifting his shot over Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici.

Walcott raced forward time after time following the break, and the England winger drove in a corner which Giroud headed beyond Federici to make it 4-2.

With a minute left the hosts looked to have done their job, only for an unmarked Koscielny to head in Walcott's corner, and five minutes into injury time Walcott levelled the scores with a shot which crossed the line despite the desperate attempts of Nicky Shorey to keep it out.

Jenkinson stabbed the ball home seconds later but the goal was given to Walcott.

The momentum felt irreversible in extra time and Chamakh fired a low shot through the legs of Kaspars Gorkss to put Arsenal ahead for the first time, but with Reading fans heading for the exits the game burst into life once more.

Pogrebnyak headed beyond Martinez to level the scores again but the drama was still not over.

Walcott crashed home from eight yards to put Arsenal back in front and as Reading crumbled, Chamakh completed a famous victory with a lob that floated up and over Federici to finally decide an incredible football match.

Lineup, Bookings (8) & Substitutions (6)

Reading

  • 01 Federici
  • 02 Gunter
  • 03 Shorey
  • 15 Morrison Booked
  • 17 Gorkss
  • 08 Leigertwood Booked
  • 16 Tabb
  • 19 Robson-Kanu
  • 10 Hunt (Pogrebnyak - 73' )
  • 12 McCleary (McAnuff - 73' )
  • 33 Roberts (Church - 90' )

Substitutes

  • 41 Taylor
  • 05 Pearce
  • 23 Harte
  • 11 McAnuff
  • 07 Pogrebnyak
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 18 Church

Arsenal

  • 36 Martinez Booked
  • 06 Koscielny Booked
  • 20 Djourou
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 54 Miquel Booked (Meade - 105' )
  • 14 Walcott
  • 22 Coquelin
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 26 Frimpong (Giroud - 62' Booked )
  • 47 Gnabry (Eisfeld - 62' Booked )
  • 29 Chamakh Booked

Substitutes

  • 60 Shea
  • 18 Squillaci
  • 40 Bellerin
  • 46 Eisfeld
  • 53 Meade
  • 64 Yennaris
  • 12 Giroud
Ref: Friend
Att: 23,980

Match Stats

Shots

17 32

On target

10 21

Corners

11 11

Fouls

14 17

Live Text Commentary

120:00 +4:07

The whistle goes and the game ends after extra time.

120:00 +2:49

The assist for the goal came from Theo Walcott.

120:00 +2:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Marouane Chamakh - Reading 5 - 7 Arsenal Marouane Chamakh finds the net with a goal from just outside the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Reading 5-7 Arsenal.

120:00 +2:29

Centre by Jobi McAnuff, save made by Damian Martinez.

120:00 +0:08

Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Blocked by Nicky Shorey.

120:00 +0:02

Andrey Arshavin provided the assist for the goal.

120:00 +0:02 Goal scored

Goal! - Theo Walcott - Reading 5 - 6 Arsenal A goal is scored by Theo Walcott from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Reading 5-6 Arsenal.

119:41

Chris Gunter produces a cross, comfortable save by Damian Martinez.

119:03

Olivier Giroud produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

117:43

Unfair challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu by Francis Coquelin results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Nicky Shorey.

117:25

Carl Jenkinson crosses the ball, Sean Morrison manages to make a clearance.

116:26

Nicky Shorey takes the direct free kick.

116:26 Booking

Booking Thomas Eisfeld goes into the referee's book.

116:20

Unfair challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu by Thomas Eisfeld results in a free kick.

115:09

Assist by Chris Gunter.

115:09 Goal scored

Goal! - Pavel Pogrebnyak - Reading 5 - 5 Arsenal Pavel Pogrebnyak scores a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Reading 5-5 Arsenal.

114:55

The ball is crossed by Hal Robson-Kanu. The ball is delivered by Chris Gunter,

114:17

The ball is delivered by Jernade Meade, save made by Adam Federici.

113:23 Booking

Booking Damian Martinez receives a caution.

113:00

A cross is delivered by Hal Robson-Kanu.

111:30

Andrey Arshavin produces a cross, clearance made by Nicky Shorey.

110:10

Jernade Meade takes the direct free kick.

110:10 Booking

Booking The referee shows Sean Morrison a yellow card.

109:59

Unfair challenge on Jernade Meade by Sean Morrison results in a free kick.

107:33

Free kick awarded for a foul by Johan Djourou on Simon Church. Nicky Shorey delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel. The offside flag is raised against Sean Morrison. Indirect free kick taken by Damian Martinez.

106:30

Corner taken by Nicky Shorey, Header from close range by Sean Morrison clears the bar.

105:35

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.

105:01

The referee blows to get the second half of extra time under way.

105:00 +2:41

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jay Tabb by Olivier Giroud. Kaspars Gorkss takes the free kick.

105:00 +2:06 Substitution

Substitution (Arsenal) makes a substitution, with Jernade Meade coming on for Ignasi Miquel.

104:45

Jobi McAnuff sends in a cross, Pavel Pogrebnyak takes a shot. Damian Martinez makes a comfortable save.

104:02

The ball is sent over by Olivier Giroud, Nicky Shorey makes a clearance.

103:29

A cross is delivered by Theo Walcott, save made by Adam Federici. Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Adam Federici makes a comfortable save.

102:29

Assist on the goal came from Andrey Arshavin.

102:29 Goal scored

Goal! - Marouane Chamakh - Reading 4 - 5 Arsenal A goal is scored by Marouane Chamakh from just outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Reading 4-5 Arsenal.

100:45

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Marouane Chamakh by Chris Gunter. Ignasi Miquel restarts play with the free kick.

100:08

Unfair challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu by Marouane Chamakh results in a free kick. Adam Federici takes the direct free kick.

99:28

A cross is delivered by Theo Walcott.

97:51

Corner taken right-footed by Andrey Arshavin.

95:40

Unfair challenge on Pavel Pogrebnyak by Marouane Chamakh results in a free kick. The ball is sent over by Nicky Shorey, Header from deep inside the area by Sean Morrison goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

94:58

Andrey Arshavin delivers the ball, Nicky Shorey makes a clearance.

93:46

The ball is sent over by Chris Gunter.

93:23

The ball is sent over by Jobi McAnuff, Laurent Koscielny manages to make a clearance.

92:03

Andrey Arshavin has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.

91:22

The assistant referee flags for offside against Simon Church. Carl Jenkinson takes the free kick.

90:29

Jobi McAnuff takes a shot. Save by Damian Martinez.

90:00 +7:06

The whistle goes for the end of normal time.

90:00 +5:03

Assist on the goal came from Marouane Chamakh.

90:00 +5:03 Goal scored

Goal! - Theo Walcott - Reading 4 - 4 Arsenal Theo Walcott finds the back of the net with a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Reading 4-4 Arsenal.

90:00 +2:28 Substitution

Substitution Simon Church joins the action as a substitute, replacing Jason Roberts.

90:00 +1:46

Foul by Laurent Koscielny on Pavel Pogrebnyak, free kick awarded. Jay Tabb takes the direct free kick.

90:00 +1:22

Corner from the right by-line taken by Theo Walcott, Pavel Pogrebnyak makes a clearance.

90:00 +1:05

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by Kaspars Gorkss.

89:46

Laurent Koscielny gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts. Free kick taken by Jobi McAnuff.

88:47

Assist by Theo Walcott.

88:47 Goal scored

Goal! - Laurent Koscielny - Reading 4 - 3 Arsenal Laurent Koscielny scores a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Reading 4-3 Arsenal.

88:37

Corner from the left by-line taken by Theo Walcott,

86:21

Shot on goal comes in from Nicky Shorey from the free kick, save by Damian Martinez.

86:21 Booking

Booking Laurent Koscielny is cautioned.

86:12

Free kick awarded for a foul by Laurent Koscielny on Jason Roberts.

85:54

Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Chris Gunter gets a block in.

85:02

Andrey Arshavin takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Chris Gunter.

84:32

Thomas Eisfeld takes a shot. Blocked by Kaspars Gorkss. A cross is delivered by Carl Jenkinson, Jobi McAnuff makes a clearance.

83:39

The assistant referee flags for offside against Jason Roberts. Johan Djourou restarts play with the free kick.

83:19

Foul by Francis Coquelin on Jay Tabb, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Nicky Shorey.

81:16

Shot by Andrey Arshavin from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

79:08

Corner from the left by-line taken by Andrey Arshavin, Header from close range by Marouane Chamakh misses to the right of the target.

78:58

Andrey Arshavin sends in a cross, Sean Morrison manages to make a clearance.

78:10

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Nicky Shorey from the right by-line, Sean Morrison produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.

77:29

Adam Federici takes the free kick.

77:29 Booking

Booking Olivier Giroud is cautioned.

76:54

Thomas Eisfeld delivers the ball, Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Adam Federici makes a fantastic save. Unfair challenge on Kaspars Gorkss by Olivier Giroud results in a free kick.

75:31

Effort from outside the penalty box by Thomas Eisfeld goes wide right of the target.

73:45

Pavel Pogrebnyak concedes a free kick for a foul on Thomas Eisfeld. Shot on goal comes in from Olivier Giroud from the free kick.

72:56 Substitution

Substitution Garath McCleary goes off and Jobi McAnuff comes on.

72:56 Substitution

Substitution Pavel Pogrebnyak replaces Noel Hunt.

72:38

The ball is swung over by Ignasi Miquel.

71:54

Drilled left-footed shot by Olivier Giroud. Kaspars Gorkss gets a block in. Olivier Giroud takes a shot. Save made by Adam Federici.

69:57

Theo Walcott has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.

69:57 Booking

Booking Mikele Leigertwood receives a yellow card.

69:49

Thomas Eisfeld fouled by Mikele Leigertwood, the ref awards a free kick.

68:09

Unfair challenge on Johan Djourou by Jason Roberts results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Carl Jenkinson.

66:50

Jason Roberts is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Laurent Koscielny takes the free kick.

66:16

The ball is crossed by Ignasi Miquel, clearance by Sean Morrison.

63:49

The assist for the goal came from Theo Walcott.

63:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Olivier Giroud - Reading 4 - 2 Arsenal Olivier Giroud grabs a headed goal from inside the area. Reading 4-2 Arsenal.

63:23

Corner taken right-footed by Theo Walcott,

62:54

The offside flag is raised against Noel Hunt. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.

61:29 Substitution

Substitution Serge Gnabry goes off and Thomas Eisfeld comes on.

61:29 Substitution

Substitution Emmanuel Frimpong leaves the field to be replaced by Olivier Giroud.

60:30

Unfair challenge on Johan Djourou by Jason Roberts results in a free kick. Johan Djourou takes the direct free kick.

59:17

Andrey Arshavin produces a cross.

57:19

Foul by Noel Hunt on Andrey Arshavin, free kick awarded. Theo Walcott takes the direct free kick.

56:54

Carl Jenkinson crosses the ball, Kaspars Gorkss makes a clearance.

56:37

Foul by Mikele Leigertwood on Andrey Arshavin, free kick awarded. Francis Coquelin takes the direct free kick.

55:28

Carl Jenkinson crosses the ball, Effort from inside the six-yard box by Theo Walcott goes wide left of the target.

55:02

Jason Roberts is caught offside. Laurent Koscielny takes the indirect free kick.

54:09

Adam Federici takes the free kick.

54:09 Booking

Booking Caution for Marouane Chamakh.

54:04

Chris Gunter fouled by Marouane Chamakh, the ref awards a free kick.

52:58

Close range effort by Serge Gnabry misses to the right of the goal.

52:03

Noel Hunt is penalised for a handball. Emmanuel Frimpong takes the direct free kick.

51:09

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici. Inswinging corner taken by Andrey Arshavin from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance by Noel Hunt.

50:56

Garath McCleary delivers the ball, Ignasi Miquel gets a block in.

50:20

Effort on goal by Mikele Leigertwood from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.

48:45

Johan Djourou gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jason Roberts. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Nicky Shorey from left wing, clearance by Laurent Koscielny. Shot from long range by Chris Gunter goes wide of the left-hand post. The assistant referee signals for offside against Noel Hunt. Free kick taken by Damian Martinez.

47:38

Outswinging corner taken by Nicky Shorey, Unfair challenge on Damian Martinez by Sean Morrison results in a free kick. Damian Martinez takes the free kick.

47:08

Inswinging corner taken by Nicky Shorey from the right by-line, clearance made by Ignasi Miquel.

46:59

The ball is sent over by Mikele Leigertwood, clearance by Ignasi Miquel.

46:41

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Nicky Shorey from the left by-line.

46:09

Garath McCleary fouled by Ignasi Miquel, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Chris Gunter. Hal Robson-Kanu takes a shot. Save made by Damian Martinez.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

45:00 +2:29 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +1:40

Assist on the goal came from Andrey Arshavin.

45:00 +1:40 Goal scored

Goal! - Theo Walcott - Reading 4 - 1 Arsenal Theo Walcott gets on the score sheet with a goal from just inside the area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Reading 4-1 Arsenal.

44:58

The referee blows for offside. Laurent Koscielny takes the free kick.

44:14

Carl Jenkinson has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the left of the target.

43:02

Corner taken right-footed by Andrey Arshavin. Effort from outside the area by Emmanuel Frimpong goes wide right of the goal.

42:44

Serge Gnabry takes a shot. Blocked by Mikele Leigertwood.

41:41

Marouane Chamakh takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.

41:21

Ignasi Miquel delivers the ball, blocked by Garath McCleary.

40:34

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jason Roberts on Laurent Koscielny. Direct free kick taken by Damian Martinez.

38:00

Free kick awarded for a foul by Johan Djourou on Jason Roberts. Nicky Shorey takes the free kick.

36:33

Garath McCleary provided the assist for the goal.

36:33 Goal scored

Goal! - Noel Hunt - Reading 4 - 0 Arsenal Noel Hunt finds the net with a headed goal from close in. Reading 4-0 Arsenal.

36:25

Garath McCleary delivers the ball,

35:36

Garath McCleary produces a cross, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.

34:33

A cross is delivered by Carl Jenkinson, save made by Adam Federici.

34:10

The referee blows for offside against Jason Roberts. Johan Djourou restarts play with the free kick.

32:47 Booking

Booking Ignasi Miquel is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.

32:04

Noel Hunt takes a shot. Save made by Damian Martinez.

29:22

The ball is delivered by Theo Walcott, save by Adam Federici.

24:13

Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by Kaspars Gorkss.

22:41

Free kick awarded for a foul by Serge Gnabry on Chris Gunter. Adam Federici takes the free kick.

19:45

The assist for the goal came from Jay Tabb.

19:45 Goal scored

Goal! - Mikele Leigertwood - Reading 3 - 0 Arsenal Mikele Leigertwood finds the net with a goal from the edge of the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Reading 3-0 Arsenal.

19:24

Corner taken by Nicky Shorey, clearance made by Ignasi Miquel.

19:10

Garath McCleary takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

17:52

Assist on the goal came from Chris Gunter.

17:52 Goal scored

Goal! - Laurent Koscielny - Reading 2 - 0 Arsenal Laurent Koscielny concedes an own goal. Reading 2-0 Arsenal.

17:45

A cross is delivered by Chris Gunter, blocked by Laurent Koscielny.

16:36

Andrey Arshavin challenges Hal Robson-Kanu unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Nicky Shorey.

15:52

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Nicky Shorey, Ignasi Miquel manages to make a clearance.

15:40

The ball is delivered by Garath McCleary, blocked by Serge Gnabry.

15:17

Chris Gunter crosses the ball, clearance by Ignasi Miquel.

13:41

Corner taken by Nicky Shorey.

12:53

Chris Gunter sends in a cross, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.

11:36

Assist by Hal Robson-Kanu.

11:36 Goal scored

Goal! - Jason Roberts - Reading 1 - 0 Arsenal Jason Roberts gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Reading 1-0 Arsenal.

11:32

Hal Robson-Kanu sends in a cross,

9:16

Andrey Arshavin takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Kaspars Gorkss manages to make a clearance. Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Chris Gunter gets a block in. Corner from the left by-line taken by Andrey Arshavin, Adam Federici makes a save.

7:58

Outswinging corner taken by Nicky Shorey from the left by-line, Noel Hunt concedes a free kick for a foul on Damian Martinez. Direct free kick taken by Damian Martinez.

7:40

Jay Tabb takes a shot. Save by Damian Martinez.

5:34

Corner taken by Andrey Arshavin.

4:54

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jay Tabb on Emmanuel Frimpong. Emmanuel Frimpong takes the direct free kick.

3:29

Unfair challenge on Francis Coquelin by Mikele Leigertwood results in a free kick. Andrey Arshavin takes the direct free kick.

1:50

Corner from the left by-line taken by Nicky Shorey, Sean Morrison produces a header from deep inside the area and strikes the post.

1:37

The ball is swung over by Hal Robson-Kanu, blocked by Carl Jenkinson.

0:30

Corner taken left-footed by Nicky Shorey from the left by-line, Johan Djourou makes a clearance.

0:15

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Serge Gnabry by Chris Gunter. Ignasi Miquel restarts play with the free kick.

0:00

The game begins.

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