By Chris Harris at My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi

A first-half hat-trick from Olivier Giroud propelled Arsenal to their second victory of the Asia Tour at the expense of Vietnam's national side.

Giroud struck twice in Jakarta on Sunday and he took his tally to five in just 65 minutes with three more expertly-taken goals - a fifth-minute opener and two just before the break.

The goals continued to flow once the Frenchman had departed, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain curling in a sumptuous effort from distance and Chuba Akpom adding a brace before the hour mark.

Ignasi Miquel got in on the act before a rapturously-received consolation for Vietnam, scored by substitute Tran Manh Dung.

Giroud will take most of the plaudits from this performance and rightly so. He could have extra competition for his position by the time the season starts but he will be difficult to dislodge on this evidence.

As for the bigger picture, this was an impressive Arsenal performance against a side that started brightly and forced the tourists to raise their game. That they were able to do so will please Arsène Wenger immensely.

Arsenal are halfway through their tour now and, as they prepare to visit Japan, the signs are promising. Wenger's players are easing through the gears and look on course to be at top speed in time for next month's big kick-off.

Hanoi has charmed Arsenal for the past three days and no one has created more of a buzz than the 'Running Man' - Tien to his friends and family.

Immortalised in this clip, the local man ran miles to keep pace with the team coach as the players went sightseeing on Monday. Tien's persistence paid off when he was allowed to board the coach and meet his heroes.

On Wednesday, the 'Running Man' covered considerably less ground to lead the tourists out at the My Dinh National Stadium - and this time he didn't bump into any trees or lamp posts.

Of course, Tien is not the only enthusiastic Arsenal fan in Vietnam. Around 25,000 of them turned up at the stadium for an open training session on Tuesday evening. Needless to say the same venue was packed to the rafters for the match with all 41,000 seats taken while others found alternative vantage points.

The tour opener against the Indonesia Dream Team allowed Wenger's men to shake off a few summer cobwebs but it was clear from the first whistle that this would be a slightly tougher assignment.

Wenger himself had lauded the growth of Vietnamese football ahead of the game and his words were vindicated as the home side dominated the early exchanges. Neat and industrious in possession, they hurried Arsenal into errors when the ball was lost.

Pham Thanh Luong pulled the strings in those opening minutes and Bacary Sagna - one of six changes from the game in Jakarta and stationed in central defence - was called into action on numerous occasions.

But while Vietnam were pretty, Arsenal were pretty effective.

Their first real chance came in the fifth minute and it was taken by Giroud, who latched on to Tomas Rosicky's pass to score via the far post. The Frenchman, already buoyant after a brace in Jakarta, would be a handful throughout the first half.

Giroud and Oxlade-Chamberlain went close with snap shots as Arsenal wrestled control and Lukas Podolski should have converted a header after Serge Gnabry beat his man and stood up a tempting cross.

Podolski did have the ball in the net halfway through the first half but was denied by an offside flag, and the Germany forward looked certain to score after collecting a defence-splitting pass from Gnabry but elected to pass instead of shoot with just the keeper to beat.

Podolski's frustrating half continued when he crashed a shot against the post with his trusty left foot and Gnabry's follow-up was cleared off the line.

For all their endeavour and tidy passing, Vietnam had yet to test Szczesny. Le Cong Vinh fired well over the bar but the home side had to wait until a minute before the break to go seriously close when Nguyen Trong Hoang's brilliant low cross found the sliding Nguyen Anh Duc at the far post, but the latter could not convert.

By then Vietnam were two down thanks to that man Giroud, who latched onto a poor clearance to curl a beauty into the top corner from the edge of the box. And the in-form Frenchman completed a first-half hat-trick on the stroke of half-time with a clipped finish over Duong.

Wenger brought on seven substitutes at the break with Per Mertesacker, Miquel, Ramsey, Gedion Zelalem, Ryo, Walcott and Akpom getting some game time. And the goals kept coming for the tourists.

Despite Giroud's excellence, Oxlade-Chamberlain can rightfully claim the goal of the game after a moment of magic at the start of the second half. Ramsey's raking pass picked out Walcott's run, his first touch was perfect and the lay-off was curled into the top corner by Oxlade-Chamberlain from outside the box.

Akpom forced a good save from Tran Buu Ngoc when he was played through shortly afterwards but the teenager did not have to wait long to find the net. He scored twice in two minutes, curling a shot into the bottom corner after good work from Ramsey and then tapping home Oxlade-Chamberlain's square ball after Zelalem's pass opened up Vietnam's defence.

One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for Jack Wilshere, who made his first appearance of the summer as a replacement for the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain with 25 minutes left. And Wenger continued to ring the changes with Chuks Aneke, Kris Olsson, Thomas Eisfeld and Damian Martinez also coming on.

Eisfeld set up Miquel for Arsenal's seventh goal with 15 minutes left, the Spaniard firing a low left-footed shot beyond Tran. That meant plenty to Miquel but the next goal meant so much to the 41,000 crowd as Tran Manh Dung lifted a shot over Martinez to give Vietnam a precious consolation.

Within minutes the heavens opened and many of those celebrating fans rushed to find cover from the deluge of rain. And we even had a red card in the dying moments as Ngoc was sent off for handling outside his penalty area.

It was a bizarre end to an entertaining night and a special few days in this part of south-east Asia.


Szczesny 71
Sagna 71
Jenkinson 71
Koscielny 46
Gibbs 46
Arteta (C) 46
Rosicky 46
Oxlade-Chamberlain 66 Goal!
Gnabry 46
Podolski 46
Giroud 46 Goal! Goal! Goal!


Martinez 71
Miquel 46 Goal!
Mertesacker 46
Aneke 71
Wilshere 66
Eisfeld 71
Zelalem 46
Olsson 71
Miyaichi 71 46
Ramsey 46
Akpom 46 Goal! Goal!
Walcott 46


Duong Hong Son 46
Nguyen Gia Tu 53
Nguyen Minh Phuong
Le Phuoc Tu
Huynh Quang Thanh
Phung Van Nhien
Le Tan Tai (C)
Pham Thanh Luong
Le Cong Vinh
Nguyen Trong Hoang
Nguyen Anh Duc


Tran Buu Ngoc 46 Red Card
Nguyen Manh Hung 53
Duong Thanh Hao
Dao Van Phong
Nguyen Huy Hung
Pham Nguyen Sa
Mac Hong Quan
Nguyen Van Quyet
Le Quang Hung
Tran Manh Dung Goal! Yellow Card
Huynh Quoc Anh
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17 Jul 2013