Home » EPL, Latest » Pre-season Friendly: Malaysia XI 0 Arsenal 4

It all went according to plan. From the frenzied reception, the thorough workout in stifling heat and the anticipated comfortable victory, it was mission accomplished for Arsene Wenger.

Beating the best Malaysia have to offer, however, was never going to be a problem for Arsenal, even if this was their first game of pre-season.

What matters more than anything is being able to beat the best in England and Europe so, in some ways, there was a certain significance attached to this test.

Of course, it would be folly to make any grand statements on the back of their opening 90 minutes of the campaign, not least because the transfer wrangles surrounding Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri have yet to reach a definitive conclusion.

But what will have given Wenger a sense of satisfaction as he left the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil was to see that wheels on Arsenal’s slick passing operation are still turning smoothly, not to mention a series of cameos that will have given him food for thought.

With Nasri given only the last 24 minutes having returned to training later than his team-mates, Aaron Ramsey found himself thrust into centre stage and he did not disappoint, showing glimpses that he might be ready to become a regular starter.

The Wales international opened the scoring with six minutes gone, confidently dispatching a penalty after Jack Wilshere had been brought down by Mohd Aidil Zafaun, played the incisive through ball that enabled Theo Walcott to double Arsenal’s lead and might have grabbed another goal himself.

What impressed most, though, was the elegant way he carried himself in the searing conditions, showing great energy before his exertions in this stifling heat took a toll.

The road back from that horrific leg break in February 2010 has been long but soon it will be a distant memory.

He was the class act during 90 minutes that clearly thrilled the football-mad Malaysian crowd, who tooted their horns and made great noise throughout, cheering even the most simple pass.

This might have been far removed from the traditional opening friendly against Barnet but it certainly worked. Aside from Ramsey there were others who caught the eye, most notably Carl Jenkinson, the 19-year-old right-back who Arsenal plucked from Charlton at the end of last season for £1million. Strong, quick and powerful with his tackles, he did not look out of place.

Once Ramsey had put Arsenal ahead, there was no doubt about what the outcome would be – a repeat of their first visit to these parts in May 1975 was never a realistic prospect – and the only question was how many they would score.

Though Malaysia were spirited and enthusiastic, Walcott reaffirmed Arsenal’s superiority with a deft finish when racing on to Ramsey’s ball after 34 minutes, carefully lifting the ball up and over as  goalkeeper Mohd Nasril Mat Nourdin charged out to thwart him.

A predictable raft of changes did not check Arsenal’s momentum in the second period, as they added another two to their total.

First Carlos Vela clipped adroitly past Nourdin just before the hour before Tomas Rosicky completed the job with a header in injury time.

In between their chances for Ramsey, Robin van Persie and Vela but the fact they were fluffed was nothing to concern Wenger, who was received a rapturous ovation each time he lift his seat in the dugout to pass on some instructions.

Next stop, then, is a date in China on Saturday against Huangzhou Green Town and, more than likely, that contest will follow a similar pattern to this. But, as Wenger knows, whether Arsenal can repeat such play for a season back home is the big question.

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