Arsenal in cruise control to see off Western Sydney Wanderers
Nacho Monreal notched two classy assists as a second-gear Arsenal made light work of Western Sydney to wrap up their Australian preseason tour.
The Gunners raced to a three-goal lead in the first half thanks to goals Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny for a 3-1 win at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night.
Steve Lustica later got one back for the Wanderers in the second stanza, though the English Premier League side barely broke a sweat.
Still, Wanderers youngsters Oriol Riera and Chris Herd made promising debuts off the bench the exhibition match in front of 83,221 fans.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger made a 10-man second-half substitution, but it didn't stop the players firing up on occasion, not least when referee Jarred Gillett was forced to break up Granit Xhaka and Jacob Melling.
"We did well in the first half against an opposition who made the game physical for us ... they pushed us," Wenger said.
"We dropped in the second half because most players had five days' training."
Giroud, who conceded this week his future may lie elsewhere, was handed a start up front while the club-record signing set to usurp him, fellow French forward Alexandre Lacazette, was deployed on the left wing in a sign Wenger is testing whether the pair can work in tandem.
Giroud at first attempted an unfruitful side-volley and then directed a header at Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.
But he made it count in the 33rd minute when Monreal embarked on a one-two with Lacazette before cutting back for Giroud to bury in the top corner.
Five minutes later, Monreal drove a long ball over for Ramsey to lob over an on- rushing Janjetovic.
By the halftime whistle the Wanderers had watched their net breached a third time, much to the chagrin of Brendan Hamill, whose leg offered the unfortunate deflection for Elneny's first club goal.
The Egyptian nearly nipped in his second after the break via a tremendous shot from the edge of the box that clipped the inside of the crossbar but somehow bounced out.
The Wanderers had their consolation just before the hour mark when Lustica unleashed a close-range free-kick into the wall before tucking the rebound into the roof of the net.
Wanderers coach Tony Popovic was happy with his players.
"It was a very impressive display by us, considering there were so many new players," Popovic said.
"Until they scored the first goal, as a unit we defended really well so there were a lot of pleasing signs."