completed their preseason exercise in Austria/Hungary with a fluid 5-0 display against a spirited Szombathelyi Haladas.

This match-up proved tricky a encounter last year as the Londoners drew 1-1, and with consent, Arsene Wenger ensured his starting eleven was more formidable this time around. Eboue, Djourou, Ramsey, Wilshere and Bendtner all kept their places from last week while Kolo Toure and Edaurdo made much-welcomed returns.

The Gunners were not particularly all over Haladas in the first half, but that was the story the scoreline told.

The hosts took the game to Wenger’s men and nearly benefited from Ramsey’s mistaken back pass which left Vito Mannone on the verge of a similar howler to Almunia’s last week. But Haladas proved audacious only through Arsenal’s own sloppiness and Bendtner set the tone for the Gunners with a clinical header onto Troare’s cross on 17 minutes.

Six minutes later, Eduardo burst into the opposition’s box and whipped home a low shot into the far corner of the net. That was a typical finish of the Croatian but his effort on 40 minutes was a bit unfamiliar.

Bendtner was hauled down right outside the penalty box and Edaurdo stepped up to curl home yet another sharp, low effort. And on the stroke of half-time, Bendtner found space just outside the area to unleash a low curler of his won.

Arsenal’s XI was much altered for the second-half. As expected, more host names were introduced as Vermaelen, Gallas, Senderos, Sagna, Silvestre, Arshavin and Van Persie retained the command.

The Gunners were still tempting for more goals and Wilshere nearly rounded off a move with a superb strike, but his chip could only meet the crossbar.

Bendtner was then brought down by Szombathelyi’s goalkeeper in the 54th minute and Van Persie converted the spot-kick with a thunderous effort.

5-0 down, the Austrian side had nothing to play for but their pride, and they nearly earned it with a close-range effort which forced a brilliant save from reserves goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. The young stopper would have more saves to do as he parried away a goal-bound free kick moments after.

Gallas was then adjudged to have hauled down Szombathelyi’s striker late on and the referee was not too hesitant to hand the hosts a consolation.

But this time Szczesny did not need another spectacular save as a horrible penalty-kick traveled well wide to seal a flawless victory for Wenger’s men.


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