Arsenal vs. Vietnam: Giroud Hits Hat-Trick as Gunners Rout 10-Man Vietnam, 7-1
Olivier Giroud netted a hat-trick, as Arsenal continued their preseason preparations in style with a resounding 7-1 victory over 10-man Vietnam at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.
The Frenchman secured the match ball within the opening 45 minutes with three excellent goals before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chuba Akpom and Ignasi Miquel added gloss to the scoreline.
Goalkeeper Tran Buu Ngoc was dismissed at the death after being adjudged to have handled outside the area.
Unlike for the visit to Indonesia on Saturday, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger opted against splicing youth with experience when naming his lineup for the trip to the Vietnamese capital.
Serge Gnabry retained his place in the starting XI, but Miquel, Akpom and Aaron Ramsey all dropped out in favour of Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud and Tomas Rosicky, respectively.
The visit of Arsenal—who became the first Premier League side to play in Vietnam—proved to be a sellout occasion inside the My Dinh, where some 40,000 locals fervently cheered on both teams throughout the exhibition, and the crowd did not have long to wait to witness the game's first goal.
Giroud, who bagged a brace against the Indonesia XI, picked up where he left off on Saturday by rifling a ball past Duong Hong Son in the Vietnam goal after just five minutes via Rosicky's lofted ball.
Naturally, the hosts struggled to assert themselves against the 13-time champions of England, with the team failing to register a shot on goal until the 26th minute, when striker Le Cong Vinh dragged his effort past the post from outside the box.
The Gunners, who have long been accused of overplaying in the final third of the pitch, offered up further evidence of this theory when Lukas Podolski, with just the goalkeeper to beat, squared to the unmarked Giroud to tap into an empty net, but the Frenchman appeared to be on a different wavelength, and Vietnam averted the danger.
Wenger's men came within the width of the post from doubling their advantage five minutes from the interval, with Podolski's effort crashing off the woodwork before Son denied Oxlade-Chamberlain's rebound.
Soon after, though, the Gunners found a second, and it was Giroud again. The 26-year-old capitalised on Son's poor clearance before curling his effort beyond the Vietnamese stopper from the edge of the area on an exquisite finish.
The hosts, meanwhile, came close to providing an immediate riposte through Dinh before Giroud put the game to bed. The France international ran onto Oxlade-Chamberlain's defence-splitting pass before clipping the ball over the on-rushing Son.
As expected, Wenger rang the changes at half-time, and it was one of those substitutions, Theo Walcott, who assisted his team's fourth some 60 seconds after the restart.
Walcott held possession down the right-hand side before teeing up Oxlade-Chamberlain, whose curling effort glided beyond the Vietnamese stopper.
Ten minutes later, the Gunners netted their fifth and sixth in quick succession. Akpom, who replaced Giroud at the break, found space in the area and placed his shot beneath the goalkeeper before the 17-year-old added a second by tapping into an empty net after good work from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The hosts gradually earned a foothold in proceedings, with Hoang Van Phuc's men enjoying lengthier spells of possession, as well as registering further shots on Wojciech Szczesny's goal, but they failed to really test the Poland international.
Walcott saw his bid to add a seventh goal rebuffed with an impressive save, but Miquel then matched Saturday's scoreline by smashing one into the corner of goal via a clever Tomas Eisfeld pass.
Finally, though, the home supporters were given something to celebrate by their national team when Tran Manh Dung's mis-hit shot looped over substitute Damien Martinez.
Dung, who took his shirt off in celebration, was inexplicably booked by the referee.
Buoyed by the goal, the hosts grew in confidence, and Martinez had to be alert to parry away Yinh's free-kick, which looked to be sailing into the top corner.
The referee continued with a no-nonsense policy despite the exhibition occasion when goalkeeper Buu Ngoc was duly dismissed after preventing Eisfeld from scoring by handling outside the area in added time, prompting defender Phong to sport the gloves for the remaining two minutes.
Arsenal will continue their tour of Asia with a visit to Japan, where Wenger will stroll down memory lane when taking on former club Nagoya Grampus later this week.
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