Vietnam 1 Arsenal 7 (Giroud (3), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Akpom (2), Miquel.
Another pre-season fixture fulfilled, and another seven goals for Arsenal. Most importantly from the perspective of the club’s Academy, however, two youngsters were amongst those who got on the scoresheet, with Chuba Akpom scoring a brace and Ignasi Miquel finding the net, whilst Gedion Zelalem, even though he did not see quite as much of the ball as he did against Indonesia on Sunday, again demonstrated his potential with some sumptuous passes.
It was not all perfect for Arsenal, as they conceded their first goal of pre-season, whilst several passes went astray in the first half and Aaron Ramsey looked to have sustained an injury towards the end of the game. However, the fixture was awash with positives as Jack Wilshere and Ryo made their first appearances of the summer, even though the latter lasted just twenty minutes.
Arsenal were three goals to the good at the break following a well-taken hat-trick from Olivier Giroud, but much of the Gunners’ play in the first half was lacking in fluidity. A much stronger side started the game, with Serge Gnabry the only player from outside the first-team squad to feature from the offset.
The German winger, stationed on the right flank, started quietly, but improved steadily as the half progressed and came close to scoring on one occasion when he directed a shot on target after his compatriot Lukas Podolski had struck the post.
It took just five minutes for Arsenal to open the scoring, with Tomas Rosicky doing well to find Giroud, who finished adroitly to add to the brace his scored against Indonesia. Podolski then came close, but Arsenal struggled to carve out many more clear-cut goalscoring opportunities until Giroud scored twice in quick succession towards the end of the half. The first goal was a well-taken individual effort which left the Vietnamese goalkeeper with no chance, whilst the second stemmed from good harrying in midfield by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
There was the expected plethora of changes at the interval, with Akpom and Zelalem amongst the players entering the fray. Both players were determined to impress again having caught the eye against Indonesia, but it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who would make the biggest initial impact, with the England international rifling home after good work down the right flank from Theo Walcott.
Akpom’s time would come, however, and the England U19 international striker didn’t have very long to wait to open his account for the day as he was expertly found by Aaron Ramsey before eluding the goalkeeper and finishing calmly to make it 5-0 to Arsenal.
Akpom would add a sixth, taking his overall tally for the tour to three goals in two games, but the most significant aspect of this particular goal was the unerringly accurate ball from Zelalem which found Oxlade-Chamberlain in the build-up. The latter went on to find Akpom, who scored, before Per Mertesacker almost got in on the act with a powerful header.
Two youngsters were involved in the move for the seventh and, as it transpired, final goal, with Thomas Eisfeld finding Miquel, who tucked home his second goal for the first-team. Just prior to that, Wilshere had been introduced for his first minutes of pre-season, whilst Damian Martinez, Chuks Aneke, Kristoffer Olsson all received game-time. Aneke was forced to operate at centre-back again, whilst Olsson slotted into an unfamiliar right-back role.
Vietnam had their fairytale moment when they scored a late consolation, but there was even more drama in the closing stages when the goalkeeper, Tran Buu Ngoc, was sent-off for bringing down Wilshere outside the area.
Again, it was hardly the most stringent of tests, and the Gunners are likely to face far tougher challenges further down the line in pre-season, but it was another good outing for the youngsters, and for Akpom and Zelalem in particular, who are doing their chances of promotion to the senior side no harm at all.
Wojciech Szczesny- The Polish goalkeeper was largely untroubled.
Carl Jenkinson- Struggled defensively at times, but attacked well.
Bacary Sagna- Very composed and won some important tackles at centre-back.
Laurent Koscielny- Was posed very few problems defensively.
Kieran Gibbs- Galloped down the left flank with ease.
Mikel Arteta- Composed as ever in possession.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain- Drove forward well, scored one goal and created another.
Serge Gnabry- Largely impressive 45 minutes for the German, who produced several good crosses.
Tomas Rosicky- Played a couple of excellent passes.
Lukas Podolski- Perhaps should have scored during the first-half.
Olivier Giroud- A well-taken hat-trick.
Per Mertesacker (for Koscielny, 46)- Had very little to do.
Ignasi Miquel (for Gibbs, 46)- Took his goal well, but, operating at left-back, was not entirely comfortable defensively.
Gedion Zelalem (for Rosicky, 46)- Not always heavily involved, but again played some astonishing passes.
Ryo (for Podolski, 46)- Understandably rusty and struggled to make an impact during his 20 minutes on the field.
Aaron Ramsey (for Arteta, 46)- Impressive again, but concerns will be raised over his apparent injury.
Chuba Akpom (for Giroud, 46)- Another two goals and impressive link-up play from the young striker.
Theo Walcott (for Gnabry, 46)- Provided assist for Chamberlain, but finishing was wayward.
Jack Wilshere (for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 66)- Made a couple of those familiar bursting runs.
Damian Martinez (for Szczesny, 71)- Could do very little about the goal and made one good save.
Chuks Aneke (for Sagna, 71)- Made some good interceptions but will surely be frustrated not to have been deployed in midfield so far during this tour.
Kris Olsson (for Jenkinson, 71)- Like Aneke, was deployed in an unfamiliar role, and wasn’t comfortable at right-back.
Thomas Eisfeld (for Ryo, 71)- Another good cameo from the German, who set up Miquel’s goal.
Not used: Lukasz Fabianski.