Reading:Arsenal returned to the top of the English Premier League with a 3-1 victory at Reading on Monday.
Mathieu Flamini fired the Gunners ahead a minute before halftime, Emmanuel Adebayor added a second in the 52nd and Alexander Hleb made it 3-0 in the 78th. England leftback Nicky Shorey replied for the Royals with three minutes to go.
Arsenal's ninth victory in 12 games gave it 30 points, the same as Manchester United but with a game in hand. The two are level on goal differential but Arsenal has scored more goals, 27 to United's 23. Unbeaten in its 12 games, Arsenal also ended Reading's run of three home victories to leave the Royals in 12th place.
Arsenal almost went ahead in the third minute when Cesc Fabregas split the Reading defense with a through ball to Adebayor, whose shot beat goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann from 15 meters but hit the foot of the post.
Keeping plenty of players back in their own half, the Royals defied Arsenal for the first 44 minutes before a goal came just before halftime on a breakaway from a Reading corner.
Gunners goalkeeper Manuel Almunia collected the ball and kicked it and, this time, Reading had too many players committed to attack. Tomas Rosicky, Adebayor and Hleb found space and time to combine and the Belarussian laid the ball off to Flamini, who turned the ball home with a low shot.
Early in the second half, Hleb, Rosicky and Fabregas put together another series of passes and Adebayor scored with a left-foot shot.
Adebayor had the ball in the net again two minutes later but it was harshly ruled out for offside.
But Arsenal scored the third goal, Hleb finishing off another well-worked move by dribbling into the area, going round Hahnemann and driving the ball in.
Reading hit back with a consolation goal with three minutes to go. Dave Kitson held the ball up, Graeme Murty hit the post and the ball went to Shorey, who forced it home.
The only sour note for the Gunners was a fifth yellow card of the season for Fabregas, which means he will miss the next game.
In the League Championship, West Bromwich Albion won 4-0 at Coventry to move up to second place, six points behind Watford.