Reading V Arsenal at Wembley Stadium - Match Preview

Reading V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.Pearce: More to Royals than formA five-match winless streak is far from ideal preparation for an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal - but Alex Pearce believes Reading are far better than that poor run suggests

The Royals have endured a tough time this season, with their second campaign back in the Championship one of strife and struggle

They have enjoyed some relief in the FA Cup, though, and head to Wembley this weekend for their first semi-final in 88 years

Pearce and his team-mates can become the first Reading side to reach the final if they overcome Arsenal, although that is easier said than done against a side on a run of eight successive Premier League wins

If that was not enough, the Royals have failed to win since overcoming Bradford in their quarter-final replay - not that vice-captain Pearce is worrying too much about that

"We're certainly due a win, aren't we?," he said, smiling

"We haven't won since that, but we haven't played that badly in the last few games

"We can't quite believe we've only got three points from the last four games because we feel we played well."Saturday is just a one-off game and we'll go into it with high spirits and the attitude to get a good result

"It's much higher opposition and we all know what we're in for

There are players in the dressing room who have played in the Premier League before and have played against Arsenal before

"We know there are top quality players all over the pitch

"The manager will prepare us really well, we'll go with a game plan and hopefully we can carry that out." The Berkshire town is abuzz with excitement ahead of just the second semi-final appearance in the club's history

Pearce, with the club since the age of 12, cannot wait for the match but will not allow himself to dream of a return at the end of May

"You take one step at a time," the Ireland international said

"All we need to worry about is the game on Saturday."If we start thinking about the final, and that kind of thing, we'll slip up and won't do what we have to do

"We have to go there with a game plan, do as many things right as we can and hopefully get a result."Defender Per Mertesacker believes Arsenal have become a stronger unit from their FA Cup success of last season, but cannot allow themselves any sense of complacency.The Gunners head into the tie on the back of a superb run of form, which has seen them win 16 from 18 matches in all competitions and up into second place in the Barclays Premier League

The atmosphere around the club is certainly a world way from the tense finale to the 2013/2014 campaign, when Arsenal were under extreme pressure in the quest to finally end a near decade wait for silverware as well as finish in the top four of the Barclays Premier League once again, not to mention the uncertainty around the future of manager Arsene Wenger

Those ambitions were within eight minutes of being shattered when trailing 1-0 to Wigan in their semi-final 12 months ago, before Mertesacker made amends for giving away an earlier penalty when heading home a late equaliser to force extra-time and a nerve-shredding penalty shoot-out victory that in turn set up a final against Hull, which itself proved just as dramatic as Arsenal came from 2-0 down to lift the trophy

"It is a good warning to all of us

You need to be focused 100% Reading, so it is going to be a tough one for us," said the German, who will again lead the team out at Wembley with captain Mikel Arteta still not fit

"We suffered a bit last season on that occasion with that pressure, but it was a great experience and hopefully we can manage that a bit better

"We are on a good level of confidence, but there will be pressure on us because we are super favourites and can we handle that during the game?"

Source : PA

Source: PA