Top matches of 2012 - No.9: Arsenal make astonishing comeback

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Arsenal striker Theo Walcott. Photo / Getty Images.
Arsenal striker Theo Walcott. Photo / Getty Images.

The stunning, spectacular and the sentimental, nzherald.co.nz lists the top ten sporting matches of 2012.

Number 9: Arsenal 7 Reading 5
31 October, 2012

This was one of the most astonishing matches in the history of English football. OK, so it might only have been the Capital One Cup but it was still a wild roller coaster of emotions for everyone watching.

Eight minutes from half-time the Gunners were trailing Reading 4-0 and Arsene Wenger was bracing for one of the most embarrassing defeats in the clubs history. It was a truly shambolic display from the Gunners as the Royals - without a Premier League win all season - ripped their visitors apart at the Madejski Stadium.

The Arsenal defence - if that's what it could be called - was a joke and the body language spoke of 11 players in red and white shirts who weren't up for it on a bitterly cold night.

When Theo Walcott got a goal back for the Gunners on the stroke of half-time, the Arsenal faithful broke into a rendition of "We're Gonna Win 5-4". Everybody laughed.

They weren't laughing in extra time though as Arsenal went on to win 7-5 on a crazy, crazy night of football.

Arsenal trailed 4-2 in the 89th minute before scoring twice at the end of regulation time, then added three more in extra time to record the jaw-dropping win.

Things got so out of hand that Marouane Chamakh ended up scoring twice for the Gunners, the misfiring Moroccan finding the target for the first time in 13 months.

What they said:

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger:

'It was 4-2 after 89 minutes, but the miracle happened. You always see new things in our game. That's why it's never boring. It was a tennis game today.

'We went from disaster to some pride, coming back in the second half. It's strange at 4-0 you think they have won, 4-1 still you think they have won, but at 4-2 you realise it's not over and panic kicks in.

'It was not one of our priorities but had we gone out the way we could have in first half that would not have been one of my proudest moments at the club.'

"It may be one of my greatest victories during my time here. We went from disaster to salvaging our pride. You cannot play for Arsenal and give up - no matter what the score is."

Reading coach Brian McDermott:.

'It felt like a funeral. It's very strange I wasn't happy half time when we went in 4-1 not 4-0. It gave them impetus.

"The second half was just kamikaze stuff. This is the worst defeat of my career in terms of scoreline, considering who we were playing and being 4-0 up. It's just embarrassing for all of us"

Daily Mail football reporter Sami Mokbel

What a crazy night. With the Royals 4-0 up my match report was virtually written. At 4-4, the original report had to be torn up. Had to press the delete button again when Marouane Chamakh put Arsenal 5-4 up.

Again when Pavel Pogrebnyak made it five-all.

AGAIN when Walcott scored Arsenal's decisive sixth in the final minute of extra time.

A dream night for the football fan...a nightmare for the football journalist.

Top matches of 2012
No.10 - Black Sticks go down fighting

Over the next 9 days we will count down the best matches of 2012. Which ones stood out? Have your say below.

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