It was evident Reading were going through a transitional period under their new manager Nigel Adkins, as they struggled to come up with a decent string of passes throughout the entire match. Not only did they fail to retain possession, they gave away the ball cheaply on countless occasions and were fortunate the Gunners were not clinical in their finishing.
Gervinho was first to react in the Reading box and opened the scoring in the 11th minute after directing the ball into an unguarded net.
The Reading defenders had difficulty tracking the sporadic runs of both Cazorla and Gervinho, making it the same one-sided match even after the restart.
Cazorla doubled the home team's lead after calmly "passing" the ball into the back of the net in the 48th minute and Arsenal seemed to be cruising. In the 67th minute, Gervinho unselfishly set up Giroud on the counter attack to make it three goals for Arsenal, only for the team to concede a minute later from Hal Robson-Kanu's diving header.That was the first and only real chance for Reading in the game.
Alex Oxlade Chamberlain was then fouled in the box seconds after his introduction and Mikel Arteta wrapped up the win after converting a penalty in the 77th minute.
Lukasz Fabianski - 6.5
It was a pity Fabianski could not claim his clean sheet bonus as he wasn't tested the entire game. Reading only created one opportunity which Robson-Kanu buried, but the Pole could not do anything about that anyway.
Bacary Sagna - 6.5
Apart from the goal which came from his side of the pitch, it was child's play for Sagna as McAnuff barely tested him. He was also an ever present figure down the right and provided much width for the Gunners.
Per Mertesacker - 6.5
Everyone was anticipating a fierce aerial battle between him and Pogrebnyak but it was not so. Reading spent so much time defending in their own half that the German won more headers in the opponent's penalty area than his own!
Laurent Koscielny - 6.5
The first time Reading got behind the Arsenal back four was in the 58th minute, but Koscielny was first to the scene and Reading had to settle for a corner.
Nacho Monreal (71' off) - 6
Robson-Kanu was not an easy opponent to play against because of his physical presence, so Monreal did not venture forward as much as Sagna. He should have done better to track the late run of Robson-Kanu in the 68th minute though.
Aaron Ramsey - 7
Enjoyed his role in the centre of midfield, retained possession well and charged forward to aid his fellow strikers by forcing a Reading defender to pick out his late runs into the box. Let's hope Arsene Wenger stops playing him in the wider areas after this match's performance.
Mikel Arteta - 7
Got his hands dirty in front of the back four so that Arsenal could enjoy plenty of possession in midfield. Got on the score sheet after a well taken penalty, compliments of Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Tomas Rosicky - 7
Was the willing runner in midfield who was always finding space. His one-twos with Rosicky and Cazorla made the home fans nostalgic for former days of glory.
Santi Cazorla - 8
He was a real handful in and around the Reading penalty area, showing what he is capable of when he has time and space with the ball. The Reading defence that was so resilient in the first half went AWOL when he simply passed the ball into the back of the net barely three minutes after the restart.
Gervinho (75' off) - 8
Rewarded his manager's faith in him when he continued running and took a simple tap in to give the home side an early lead.
His purposeful runs forward were something the Reading defence could not deal with, especially in the first half. and it would have been an even more embarrassing outing for Reading if he controlled the ball better.
Olivier Giroud (75' off) - 7.5
Had a legitimate penalty appeal after he was brought down by a late challenge from Stuart Taylor but no matter, he got himself a goal after hitting the ball low and hard in the 67th minute to give his team a three goal advantage.
Kieran Gibbs (71' on) - 6
Only 23, but his 100th appearance in an Arsenal shirt was a stroll in the park. There was very little he could do wrong defending a two goal advantage.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (75' on) - 7.5
After an impressive international outing last week, he won his team a penalty with his first touch of the ball after intercepting a pass from Mariappa.
Lukas Podolski (76' on)
Stuart Taylor - 5
The former Arsenal player was a lucky man to still be on the pitch after that rash challenge on Giroud. A number of textbook saves to keep out the shots from distance, but he was generally helpless in the goals he conceded.
Nicky Shorey - 4
The veteran left back was abused by Gervinho and Sagna all game, as they dribbled past him like he wasn't there. A match he would want to forget.
Alex Pearce - 5
Did his best to be the strong figure at the back for Reading but was outclassed by Arsenal's swift passing movement and could not get the ball off Giroud.
Adrian Mariappa - 4
Always popped up in the nick of time to make the last ditch tackles but all his hard work went to waste in the second half as his team mates repeatedly gave away possession.
He was also heavily involved in Arsenal's fourth goal when he cleared the ball straight at Oxlaide-Chamberlain, who was eventually brought down by him to concede a penalty.
Stephen Kelly - 5.5
Stuck to his task diligently at right back and was probably Reading's best defender, throwing himself around to deny any Arsenal player a clear sight on goal.
Jem Karacan (76' off) - 4
The majority of the match passed him by as he had minimal impact on the game. His team was tortured by Arsenal's midfield and it was a luxury for them to have a touch of the ball.
Mikele Leigertwood - 3
The main culprit for Reading, giving away possession too easily in their own half and should have been replaced much earlier. One of the worst performances from a defensive midfielder we have seen in a while.
Jobi McAnuff - 6
One of two players worth mentioning in a Reading shirt. Toiled tirelessly and although he could not feed his Russian targetman as much as he wished, it was his cross that set up Robson-Kanu for their only goal in the match.
Hal Robson-Kanu (81' off) - 6
Bullied Monreal the few instances he advanced with the ball and his persistence eventually paid off, grabbing a consolation goal for his team.
Danny Guthrie - 4
Picked up the first booking of the game after he was frustrated by Arsenal's dominance in the first half. He later made a mess of a corner and allowed Gervinho to run the entire length of the pitch to feed Giroud for Arsenal's third goal.
Pavel Pogrebnyak (61' off) - 4
His team was severely starved of possession hence the only time he touched the ball was when he had to make a clearance from an Arsenal corner. Had no impact on the match whatsoever in the hour he was on.
Noel Hunt (61' on) - 4
Hunt was no better than the man he replaced, as he came on to chase shadows but could not prevent his team from further embarrassment.
Hope Akpan (76' on)
Garath McCleary (81' on)