Published July 17, 2013
HANOI (AFP) – Arsenal pummeled the Vietnamese national team into submission with a 7-1 romp on Wednesday at the 40,000-seat My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.
French forward Olivier Giroud scored a first-half hat trick, getting the opener after just five minutes, and following up with two goals in rapid succession just before half-time.
Giroud, who joined Arsenal in June 2012 from Ligue 1 champions Montpellier, now has five goals in two games on the Gunners' Asian tour, after scoring twice in Sunday's seven-goal win over the Indonesian Dream Team in Jakarta.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea all have new managers this season, giving Arsenal hope that their stability under long-serving coach Arsene Wenger can finally help them end an eight-year trophy drought.
Wenger praised the Vietnamese team's efforts and said he and his team had had a great three-day stay in the communist country.
"I have felt very happy these last few days in Vietnam and will leave with many fond memories, especially of Running Man," Wenger said, referring to a devoted fan who ran five miles alongside the Arsenal team bus in a bid to meet his heros.
After the team posted a video on the Arsenal website of the fan, Vu Xuan Tien, and his tireless chase of the bus -- which ended with him being invited on board and posing for photos with the team -- "Running Man" became an overnight sensation in Vietnam.
"I am satisfied with (the) performance of our players. They have made a good impression in the eyes of Vietnamese fans," Wenger added, speaking to reporters after the Wednesday match.
Arsenal turned in exhibition stuff at My Dinh as they repeatedly pierced a spirited Vietnamese defence.
After a flurry of half-time substitutions on both teams, teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored Arsenal's fourth a minute after the restart.
Arsenal's pacy front man Chuba Akpom scored in minute 56 and again on the hour after Oxlade-Chamberlain passed the ball across to the young striker, who also hit the target against the Indonesians.
Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, a 2011 signing from Everton, scored Arsenal's seventh in the 75th minute.
Tran Manh Dung scored a consolation in the 78th minute, delighting the home crowd, who went wild as the Vietnamese forward stripped off his shirt and ran across the pitch in celebration.
It began to pour with rain as a monsoon hit in the final minutes of the game, prompting many of the cheering Vietnamese fans to run for cover, leaving sections of the stands empty.
Vietnam's goalkeeper Tran Buu Ngoc was handed a red card in the 89th minute after he came out of his area, was beaten to the ball but won it with his hand.
Vietnamese defender Dao Van Phong went into goal for the final minutes.
England striker Theo Walcott took the resulting free kick for Arsenal but put it wide.
Arsenal next head to Japan, where their visit includes a game against Wenger's former club, Nagoya Grampus.