|Gunners fire four past hosts|
BUKIT JALIL: Arsenal gave a sneak preview of what their fans can expect in the new season of the English Premier League (EPL) when they swatted aside Malaysia 4-0 in their Tour of Asia warm-up match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Wednesday.
It was not the most entertaining of matches but still, the four goals were enough to send the die-hard Arsenal fans among the 60,000-odd in the stadium into ecstasy.
Aaron Ramsey started the rout with a penalty goal in the fifth minute before his England team-mate Theo Walcott added the second in the 37th minute.
Further goals by second-half substitutes Carlos Vela (53rd minute) and Tomas Rosicky (90th) sealed victory for the Gunners, who beat the national team 2-0 the last time they visited Malaysia 12 years ago.
The match was certainly a learning curve for Datuk K. Rajagopal's men, who have a long way to go at the international stage the difference in standards was glaring.
Arsenal saved the best for last when Arsene Wenger unleashed his star players including Samir Nasri, Robin Van Persie and Andrey Arshavin in the final quarter of the match.
Malaysia began the match with eight players from the victorious Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship squad.
The visitors were not even going at full throttle when they got the opening goal, no thanks to centreback Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak's foul on Jack Wilshere in the box in the fifth minute.
Aaron Ramsey took the spot kick, putting it past goalkeeper Mohd Nasril Nourdin.
The Arsenal fans erupted in joy. And Wenger's men then thrilled the crowd with some fine touches and flashes of brilliance as they controlled the game.
Rajagopal's men, however, only played well in patches, with flanker S. Kunalan providing the spark from the left with his darting runs.
Although the wily Kunalan found Arsenal right-back Carl Jenkinson a huge obstacle, he did provide the fans with something to cheer about with his sheer persistence to get the better of his physically bigger opponent.
Skipper Safiq Rahim had the best chance of the game but Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny dived full stretch to keep out his dipping 35-metre freekick in the 24th minute.
England international Walcott, who gave the Malaysian backline some anxious moments with his sheer pace and skill on the right, managed to put his name on the score sheet when he lobbed the ball over the onrushing Mohd Nasril in the 37th minute.
Substitute Carlos Vela proved to be a handful for the Malaysian defence with his menacing runs and it was no surprise when he scored the third goal from close range in the 53rd minute.
Rosicky then wrapped up the night's proceedings when he headed in Andrey Arshavin's 90th minute cross from close range.
The Gunners could have scored a bigger win had the Malaysians not defended in numbers.
MALAYSIA: Mohd Nasril Nourdin (Khairul Fahmi Che Mat), Mahalii Jasuli (Helmi Remeli), Mohd Asraruddin Putra Omar (Mohd Azmi Muslim), Mohd Fadhli Shas, Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak (Mohd Muslim Ahmad), Safiq Rahim, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Amar Rohidan, Ahmad Fakri Saarani (Abdul Hadi Yahaya), S. Kunalan, Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal (Baddrol Bakhtiar).
ARSENAL: Wojciech Szczesny (Vito Mannone), Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Song, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs (Carlos Vela), Marouane Chamakh (Emmanuel Frimpong), Ryo Miyaichi (Tomas Rosicky), Carl Jenkinson. - theStarOnline