Transfer update: Reading join chase for LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes

LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes is a man in demand. The 23-year-old attacker has been developing into an impressive talent with the Galaxy and the US Men’s National Team over the past two years and teams in Europe have been taking note.

English Championship side Reading FC have now joined the hunt for Zardes, according to a report by the Reading Chronicle on Friday.

The report indicates: “Sources have since confirmed that 23-year-old Zardes is very much on Royals’ radar and the club will attempt to force through a deal before the September 1 transfer deadline.”

It goes on to mention that fellow American Danny Williams could provide an extra incentive for Zardes to make the jump across the pond to play in England, as he currently plays for Reading.

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Reading’s rivals, Brighton & Hove Albion, as well as Belgian club Genk are also looking at making a move for Zardes as his future could lie away from MLS.

Gyasi Zardes signed with the LA Galaxy in December 2012 on a Homegrown contract and has gone on to score 25 times in 80 league games.

The Galaxy have recently signed Steven Gerrard and Giovani Dos Santos, so although Zardes remains a key part of the first-team squad, the reigning MLS Cup holders could look to cash in if the right offer arrives.

Should LA Galaxy sell Gyasi Zardes if an offer from Europe arrives? Would he be a good signing for Reading?

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FA Cup Preview and Prediction: Reading vs Arsenal

Competition: FA Cup semi-final – Reading vs. Arsenal

Venue: Wembley Stadium – Saturday, April 18 – 17:20 BST (12:20 ET)

Match Odds: Reading 12/1 – Draw 5/1 – Arsenal 1/4

Match Preview

Reading and Arsenal clash at Wembley Stadium for the first FA Cup semi-final on Saturday evening as the Gunners look to reach a second successive final and continue the defence of their title.

Reading are undoubtedly major underdogs coming into the game as they sit eighteenth in the Championship and many will struggle to see how they can overturn Arsenal, but the beauty of this competition is that anything can happen.

Few would’ve predicted Bradford winning at Chelsea or Middlesbrough winning at Manchester City in the fourth round, so the Royals can approach the game with a nothing to lose attitude.

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Steve Clarke’s side are without a win in five games in all competitions and their last victory came in the FA Cup quarter-final replay against Bradford – the Royals have won just two of their last 12 (D5, L5). Reading have also seen off Huddersfield, Cardiff and Derby in their run to the semi-final.

Arsenal are the FA Cup holders and arguably the best team in the country right now after a run of eight straight wins has lifted them to second in the Premier League – the Gunners have also won 15 out of their last 16 domestic fixtures.

Arsene Wenger‘s last taste of defeat in the FA Cup was against Championship opposition in February 2013 when Blackburn Rovers won 1-0 in a fifth round tie at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal are undefeated in 10 FA Cup ties since then, including victories over Hull, Brighton, Middlesbrough and Manchester United in this season’s competition.

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It will be the Arsenal manager’s tenth FA Cup semi-final and should the Gunners go on to lift the famous trophy once again, they will become the most successful club in the history of the competition – they currently share the record for most FA Cup titles (11) with Manchester United.

The last time these two sides met, Arsenal ran out as 4-1 winners in a Premier League game back in March 2013. The last cup meeting between the two was that enthralling 7-5 League Cup comeback win for Arsenal in October 2012 at the Madejski Stadium after Reading had taken a 4-0 lead.

The Wembley stage is set and the FA Cup semi-final is always a great day for both sets of players and fans alike. Arsenal are heavy favourites, but Reading will relish the occasion that marks their best achievement in the competition since 1927 as they attempt to reach their first ever FA Cup final.

Team News

Reading will be delighted that striker Pavel Pogrebnyak will be available after struggling with a knee injury, although they will be without the on-loan Nathan Ake and Kwesi Appiah as they are both cup tied.

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Arsenal have rarely had so many options at their disposal in recent years as only Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are unavailable with injury. Wojciech Szczesny will start in goal as he continues his role as the ‘cup goalkeeper’, while Wenger could also rotate on-pitch slightly from the team that faced Burnley last weekend. Mathieu Debuchy and Jack Wilshere are both fully fit and available for selection.

Key Points

Reading’s last five in all competitions: L/D/D/D/L

Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/W/W/W

Key Stat: Arsenal have won all 12 of their previous matches against Reading, so the Royals will be making history if they win this one.

Key Player: Mesut Ozil – The German has put in some excellent performances in the last few months and on a big Wembley pitch, this is the type of game where he could really pull the strings and open up Reading’s defence.

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Score Prediction

Arsenal 2-0 Reading – The FA Cup is a magical competition but it’s so hard to see how a struggling Reading side are going to upset the rhythm of an Arsenal team that can’t stop winning. The Gunners will be made to work hard but should ultimately win the game comfortably.

MLSGB FA Cup Fourth Round Predictions

This weekend sees a break from league action for those sides that are still in the FA Cup and we take a look at the fourth round fixtures to see how each team will fair.

Ben Ashton takes a stab at the possible outcomes of the action this weekend.

Here’s this week’s FA Cup fourth round predictions:

Friday 23 January 2015

Cambridge United vs Manchester United (19:55)

Manchester United faced a possible upset in the third round away at Yeovil Town but they came through that test comfortably in the end and I expect them to do so once again against a modest Cambridge.

Prediction: 0-2


Saturday 24 January 2015 (All kick-offs are 15:00 unless otherwise stated)

Blackburn Rovers vs Swansea City (12:45)

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Both sides have stuttered recently in the Championship and Premier League respectively and are both without a win in four which is why it’s likely to end all square.

Prediction: 1-1 (Swansea City to win the replay 2-0)


Birmingham City vs West Bromwich Albion

Birmingham have picked things up recently after a torrid start to the season which saw them record just two wins from the opening 15 games. But any side managed by Tony Pulis will be tough to beat and the Baggies should edge this Midlands derby.

Prediction: 1-2


Cardiff City vs Reading

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Neither of these sides can have much to brag about this season as they both sit in the bottom half of the Championship. A cup run could potentially light up an otherwise dull campaign for one of them. Narrow home win.

Prediction: 2-1


Chelsea vs Bradford City

If Chelsea fail to get past Bradford at home in the fourth round, it would go down as one of the FA Cup’s all-time greatest upsets. But it’s not going to happen and Chelsea will cruise into the fifth round.

Prediction: 4-0


Derby County vs Chesterfield

Derby’s priority this season will be gaining promotion to the Premier League and they’re doing a fairly good job of achieving that so far. Chesterfield themselves are in a battle for promotion too and this game presents the opportunity of a mini-upset but Derby should just have enough.

Prediction 1-0


Manchester City vs Middlesbrough

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City will be crushed after last weekend’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the league but they need to bounce back quickly. And what better opportunity than against a Championship side whose priorities are trying to gain promotion.

Prediction: 2-0


Preston North End vs Sheffield United

Preston are going well in League One despite going four without a win. They should have a slight advantage in the sense that Sheffield United had to play a League Cup game against Tottenham in midweek so they may be suffering from that. The Blades’ cup form has been excellent in recent times though and that should be enough to bring the game back to Bramall Lane.

Prediction: 1-1 (Sheffield United to win the replay 1-0)


Southampton vs Crystal Palace

If this game was due to be played six weeks ago, you’d expect a comfortable Southampton win, but Palace look revitalised under new manager Alan Pardew which will make for a tight game. However, the Saints should just edge it and Palace will be subjected to their first defeat under the new boss.

Prediction: 2-1


Sunderland vs Fulham

This is a game that Sunderland could probably do without given the fact they need to concentrate on Premier League survival. Fulham look to be safe in the Championship and a cup run would be a welcome bonus. But the advantage of being at home and having Jermain Defoe at their disposal should see Sunderland through.

Prediction: 2-0


Tottenham Hotspur vs Leicester City

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Tottenham have been playing well recently, despite a blip at Selhurst Park when they lost 2-1 to Crystal Palace. Leicester have also picked up a few points of late to give themselves a chance of escaping relegation, and that will be their number one objective this season. Spurs should go through without too many problems.

Prediction: 2-0


Liverpool vs Bolton Wanderers (17:30)

Brendan Rodgers has quietly but effectively set about turning Liverpool’s season around. The Reds could do with a good send-off for skipper Steven Gerrard who will be joining LA Galaxy in the summer, so they will be desperate to do well in the FA Cup. Bolton have also turned it around under Neil Lennon but getting a result at Anfield will be too much to ask.

Prediction: 3-0


Sunday 25 January 2015

Bristol City vs West Ham United (14:00)

Sam Allardyce hasn’t always prioritised the FA Cup, so it’ll be interesting to see how he approaches this game. Bristol City are flying high in League One and will fancy themselves to get at the Hammers. This should be an entertaining game.

Prediction: 1-1 (West Ham United to win the replay 2-0)


Aston Villa vs Bournemouth

Villa Park will be the most likely destination for a cup upset this weekend. But in truth, it wouldn’t be all that surprising. Bournemouth have been scintillating this season in the Championship, while Aston Villa have been very much the opposite in the Premier League. I fancy the Cherries to win this.

Prediction: 0-2 


Brighton & Hove Albion vs Arsenal

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Defensive stability isn’t something we normally associate with Arsenal in recent years, but with three consecutive clean sheets in all competitions they’re starting to look solid at the back, which is the main reason I don’t see Brighton getting anything from this game. Arsenal’s attacking threat isn’t bad either.

Prediction: 0-2


Monday 26 January 2015 (20:00)

Rochdale vs Stoke City

This fixture has all the makings of a classic FA Cup tie. On paper, it looks as though Stoke will comfortably sweep Rochdale aside, but I get the feeling it won’t be as easy as that. The magic of the cup should be there for all to see in this one.

Prediction: 2-2 (Stoke City to win the replay 3-1)


Who will make the fifth round of the FA Cup?