Arsenal came from 2-1 down to beat Vitoria 3-2 in the Europa League this evening thanks to two sensational free kicks from Nicolas Pepe.

The Ivorian saved the day after what was another indifferent performance from Unai Emery’s side, and the confidence boost he’ll get from this is invaluable.

It puts the Gunners on 9 points, top of the group, and in a strong position to win it.

Read the Arsenal 3-2 Vitoria report and see the goal here.

Here’s how the players rated this evening.


The ratings are now hidden by default until you vote, but if you just want to view the ratings and the comments, flick the switch at the top above Emi Martinez. Also, give the ratings a few seconds to load.

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Positives: Pepe, Martinelli, Smith-Rowe
Negatives: Team setup, tactics, AMN (what the hell was he even doing)

Please let’s not drag Ozil into this conversation.
I’m sure he had an anti-Emery tweet ready if Arsenal lost today, lol, he couldn’t use it.


Martinelli running 40yards chasing their fullback and winning the ball back late in the game at 2:2 showed what this kid is about. Works so hard it’s incredible haven’t seen an arsenal forward work this hard since Sanchez. Brilliant player so positive makes fantastic runs behind defenders but our midfield doesn’t always find him we lacked creativity in midfield until guendouzi came on. But Martinelli is very ready for consistent first team football I wouldn’t put it past him to start a few premier league games this season. Guendouzi as well brilliant as ever. Such a massive impact he’s made… Read more »

SB Still

He reminds of RVP (pre ManUre version) in being able to create for himself. So it was fitting to hear RVP singing his praises.


Sound reasoning there Lance. Nice one. We tend to expect a lot from our kids and when they try stuff that fails it looks bad…AMN falls very much into that category and I hope he learns and kicks on. His decision making has let him down a lot this season, but he’s learning. I’m very impressed with Martinelli and I’m please you suggest he could get a few premier league games – many observers demand immediate selection for youngsters when they impress (Under-11 Arsenal player bags hattrick — let’s drop Auba and start him against Liverpool away!).


There is a reason you have different categories in the contracts:
1. First Teamers
2. Backups
3. Up coming


How are you enjoying the new FIFA game?


Very true. The likes of Martinelli, Smith Row, Reis Nelson, Saka, Willock by the end of this season would’ve gained valuable experience that would serve them in good stead for next season. But I feel Martinelli might just be ahead of this bunch in development and tactical awareness as well as the intensity and urgency that’s required at this level martinelli has that already. And he’s not afraid to get stuck in either. You could see his street smart attitude to everything he does on the pitch. Brilliant player.

Monkey knees

So… All the negatives can be traced back to Emery!? Our most creative player isn’t even in the squad to gain form, match fitness and to show what he can do!? Help unlock a second rate Europa League defence!? The anti Ozil brigade really are something else. I was STRONGLY pro Emery upon appt, but after 18 months of regression, am firmly in the #emeryout camp. He isnt PL or AFC quality. I feel sorry for Vitoria tonight; they were showing us up all match!


For me Gendouzi gets better and better each game. He changed the game for me today this kids a talent


Guess who dragged Ozil into this conversation.


You cannot mention AMN without mentioning Ozil. As in; How is AMN starting and Ozil isn’t in the squad?
Notwithstanding ability, performance, experience, cost….AMN is the only player who looks more casual on a pitch than Ozil.


Willock didn’t have a great game either

DB's first touch

Willock did have a great touch under pressure from the defender to get the ball out to Tierney in the build up to our first goal, so wasn’t all negative.


Whoever does the player avatars has a real knack for capturing their likeness

Lord Bendnter

Ceballos has jaundice

Wilsheres Middle Finger

That busy fly comment though. Cracked me right up ?

The Far Post

Agreed. 10/10 Blogs busy fly description 🙂

Gudang Bedil

Guendouzi is Luiz

Burn Baby Burn

He clearly lives in Springfield


How can 40% of voters give that very accurate comment the thumbs down?


The Maitland-Niles avatar is spot-on!


If Emery starts Xhaka ahead of Torreira after tonight’s display (Willock and Maitland-Niles were responsible for the goals conceded) then he has truly lost the plot. Torreira is so much more aggressive, tenacious and mobile. His passing is vastly underrated too.

On an even more depressing note it seems that Maitland-Niles doesn’t have a future at the Club, unless he becomes our O’Shea/Darren Fletcher, ie a utility player. And there’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever.


AMN is in bad form for sure but I’m not ready to close the door on his Arsenal career just yet. His touches are way too casual and loose and that can be very dangerous in the midfield. It’s not unfixable though.


I hope Maitland-Niles can find his form back. Yes, he lost the ball, but that pass to him simply set him up for trouble anyway, he was already surrounded by three black shirts and Niles was facing backward, it would take someone like Cabellos or someone more experienced to get out of these situation.


I agree the pass into him was bad decision making. Though his touch could not have been worse there and is still a tad more culpable. Out side that I did not think he was horrible, not good enough though. I like him but his first touch seems torrid.


That’s true, it has been quite sometime, our off the ball movement is non-existent. Sometimes keeping the shape makes it more difficult for the players to provide options when opponents are marking them tightly. But coaching can be done to improve it.


Calum Chambers went through similar troubles, as did Rob Holding, Niles isn’t the first, and won’t be the last young player to go through a sticky patch.

Think a loan would do Niles some good, go out and get half a season in the championship picking up 20+ games in a less pressurised environment.

To write off a 22year old is just ridiculous

Welsh Gooner

Emery will start Xhaka because club captain. Torreira can be aggressive without giving away the same amount of soft fouls the way Xhaka does. Would much prefer him and Guendouzi starting if Emery is insistent on playing two DMs.


We only have 1 DM in the squad. Torreira. How can Emery play 2 DMs and yet he doesn’t even play Torreira. Ann’s on the occasion he does, he plays him ahead of Xhaka or Guendouzi and makes him press, leaving Xhaka or Guendouzi to play DM… when they are clearly not a DM. So strange we needed a DM for so long, and now that we have him, we don’t like to use him as suited.


Calum Chambers did a good job as DM for Fulham. Not sure thats the level we need, but probably better than Xhaka


Torreira wasnt playing the defensive midfield role, or as a deep lying playmaker.


Well, we can blame AMN, but what was his position, what were the instructions? He started on the wing, then was moved to “all over the midfield” and we can all agree central is not his position. Just look at where he lost the ball. Same place the manager lost the plot entirely.

David Hillier's luggage

Young player asked to learn an unfamiliar position due to a lack or squad resources and coaching staff identifying key traits, loses a bit of form, get about his fourth game in the last two season in a position vaguely similar to what he’d learnt growing up – Arsenal fans:”it seems that Maitland-Niles doesn’t have a future at the Club”.

Say more about the patience of our fans than our players ability really.


Waiting for Ozil to congratulate Arsenal or Pepe for the win on social media, but wait, that doesn’t suit his anti-Emery agenda.
Shows you he is milking his fans/followers by using his PR machine.

And, by all means, sack Emery. That just doesn’t mean Ozil was the savior who could make us become Barcelona.
Remember the Europa final, if someone’s memory needs a little refresh.

Martinellis belly

Everyone was shite that night and as I recall he was told to man-mark Jorginho.
Why not focus on the fact that he creates the most chances for us every single year.
Put him in the team and the attack wakes up. Pepe Laca and Auba will flourish. Put Torreira and Guendouzi behind him to work their holes off to make up for his lack of physicality. Play to the strengths of your best players!


Well, he’s been shite since the day he signed that contract extension.
Zero work-rate, zero involvement, full social media antics.

Being a part of the playing 11 consists a lot more than just finding 1 good pass in 3 matches, and being a passenger for the rest.


False narrative used to sell bum wipe.


Well I’m not sure how you know that he’s been shite since the contract as he really has not played consistently enough to really judge him. He looks rusty more then shite when he plays ever 5 to ten games, and less this season as well. He has the talent, Form comes from playing.


Gana next to no involvement and not of his doing. The best way for everyone to stop talking about Ozil is results and performances on the pitch. Erm well we have been shit for the majority of the occasions that he has been left out and the buck stops at the manager.


Seems.the common line up we all dream of bur as fans we paid millions to choose the lineup. Surely the manager has more of an idea then do?


But as fans we aren’t paid millions like the manager to chose the lineup


All in all:
Emery – Good ebening and good bye.
Ozil – collect your 350K paycheck and go play Fortnite somewhere else.

Julio Baptista's humble alter ego

OK mate, we heard you the first time..


People are unliking the idea that ozil congratulates arsenal or pepe. Literally says it all about the ozil worshippers and who/what comes first for them.

Its sad. But let’s enjoy the win instead of hating for no reason.


Posts about not dragging Ozil in the conversation.
Drags Ozil in the conversation.
Fuck off you mug.


I was badly hoping that if there was going to be a winner for us, then Pepe should be the one to get it.

On Tuesday, after that loss to Sheffield, one Liverpool fan wrote this article:

I told him how stupid he was… I am glad Pepe added a couple words with his feet tonight for good measure.


I like that the link is formatted to look like “Liverpoo” on my screen. Fitting, perhaps.


🙂 Brilliant!

Nicolas Pepe

I sent a message out to him mate making sure he knew how I felt mate.


Yeah, mate. That’s why I dropped the link here. He’d think twice about writing such crap later on.


What??? You actually SPOKE to a Scouser?

Cacio e Pele

Loved Pepe’s sniper free-kicks and Auba’s celebration was great too. Guendouzi seems to have really thrived as the new midfield beacon, just pure, infectious enthusiasm. Just seems like an angry French kid but I am so glad that he is mine.


Thankyou. I literally was sitting here after the first comment thinking, damn I didnt see Aubas celebration.


Weird One.


Hi am I the only one who can’t find the comments section on the app


I have to switch from the app on iPhone to web browser to read comments. No comments on app???


Is it just me, or was there a midfield out there in the first half?


Still buzzing,…. Nothing like coming from behind twice, and then winning it with a 93rd minute free kick…. Good to get the squad players some minutes, I’ve been trying to think who Martinelli reminds me of, then I seen a tweet from Tim Stillman saying Luis Suarez…. I think Emery will go with experience on Sunday as he’s under pressure, but Martinelli has to be knocking on the door, he’s an absolute dream player, we’re lacking a bit of spark at the minute, and a rejuvenated Pepe and relentless Martinelli could give this team a much needed injection of something… Read more »

Martinelli fanboy

What isn’t positive about martinelli? His work rate is first class (ESR too)and actually steals the ball cleanly. His play style is positive and forward thinking all the time. I like that he’s a bit selfish like Sanchez was. All this sideways passing is a disease and I think the douzi has figured that out and started playing more of a box to box role. We all know our number one midfield is torreira, douzi and ceballos/ozil. This team is crying out for a number 10 and Emery can’t even give ozil a chance. In his absence we need a… Read more »


Exactly what Pepe needed and hopefully this gets the haters off his back, because his technical ability is elite (more than Gervihnos) and still needs time to adjust.

On the other hand…my goodness AMN “I’m a central midfielder”, no you’re not son. He is worth shipping off for 30M in my eyes and not just based off this performance.


Lol 40m for amn smh




I’m very relieved that you consider Pepe’s technical ability elite (more than Gervinho’s)…

I don’t know why our fans are obsessed with attacking our young players and kicking them when they’re down? Can we have a rule that players under the age of 24 are off limits? and players within their first 6 months are off limits?


Gave Ceballos an extra .5 just for the perfect description of his performance by Blogs. 10/10 description

SB Still

That description was funny 🙂


The description was funny.
Perfect? I dunno.
Yes, he wasn’t playing through balls through the middle for our forwards. But I thought his “busy” performance kept things ticking over in midfield and he was helping to provide control and security in possession in midfield. And he sent incisive balls down the left a few times as well.

Could have had a better game -by his own standard- though.

Wilsheres Middle Finger

At what point did we become completley incompetent of passing through the middle to our forwards?!

Only for Gunedouzi’s runs we’d have been playing U ball for the whole game.

Our lack of a functional tactics and a playing style was on full show tonight. A very flattering scoreline.


Since Wenger left


The one player we have with the ability to do just that, cant get a run in the team or even the bench these days.


Wenger used play to U balls too and was criticised for it. Agree on the Guendouzi runs, he isnt an amazing dribbler but he has an awareness of who he can run at. The great thing about him is that even if he misplaces a pass or get dispossessed he tried to get it back as soon as possible.


We don’t have creativity in our midfield. I can’t see anyone with creativity of Ozil, Rosicky or Cazorla. No current player has their attacking quality, sense of one-two passes, sense of off the ball movement, sense of free the space for another player, sense of speed-up play.


One thing I’ve been noticing is how fast Martinez gets rid of the ball. I think it’s one of the reasons we are able to get out of our half a bit easier compared to the league games. I think Leno is a bit slow in his distributions.


This is something I don’t recall being mentioned much. We are a decent offense when we are running at the other team, and we just don’t get the opportunity to do that with the amount of time Leno takes. Playing out from the back doesn’t really help… it’s almost as if the the tactics are wrong


Emi’s distribution is way better than Leno, not only does he move the ball quickly but he usually finds his man.


It is, and not by a little either. There’s was one moment in the first half we were passing around at the back, ball got to Emi and he was immediately pressed, and he found a great out ball to the left. Leno can’t do that.


I fucking love Europa league fights at the Emirates!!

Is there any way we can have a b team playing in Europa even when we’ve qualified and are playing in the champions league?

Ah man good times have another pint friends!


Emery is killing Maitland-Niles at moment trying to save his own face and today did in a pointless Europa League group game. He had very low confidence before today, and probably is even worse now. He was much better player two years ago. Developing youngsters isn’t throwing them out to drown and after that blaming them for poor performances. AMN was bad today, but lets be real, Ceballos was also. And Torreira as attacking mid wasn’t also good. Two fantastic shots from Pepe covered for a fact that we didn’t create almost anything from open play in the second half… Read more »


AMN was taken off with Willock because they were not playing well. If I don’t completely understand Emery’s strategies I do at least appreciate that he will move swiftly to sub a player not doing well. I’m afraid I can’t follow the logic that Emery would think he would “save his face” by “killing” AMN. I also doubt any club would have offered Stg20 million for him at the start of the season.


Not saying they were playing well, but it was a pointless Europa group game, where not killing youth for a result was more important than result. He didn’t take of Xhaka, Sokratis, Luis, Ceballos, even Guendouzi, Pepe at half time than they were playing badly in the previous games.


AMN has always had a misplaced pass in him, Wenger took him out of the team for a breather after he gave away some bad passes from DM. He thinks he is a winger, perhaps at Championship level but at the highest level you can’t coach the type of creativity which is required. Unless you have real quality in your final ball, which he doesnt. And he doesnt possess great combination play from central or wide areas. In this respect Nelson, Saka, Martinelli and RoweSmith are ahead of him. Wenger’s idea of using his pace, energy and tackling technique was… Read more »


I also don’t see AMN as a winger for the same reasons you stated. We don’t know if he could be the DM, because we have seen him there once or twice. I still see him having a place in the squad as backup right back with some development, but the development won’t come, if he or coach has given up on it. In a long run AMN will still be better backup rightback than Chambers. (ps I like Chambers more than lot of our fans, and it’s a shame that he can’t be playing as centerback even in cup… Read more »

Punavesh Kamat

The midfield setup lacks sharpness in every department in general. Not great at shielding the defence nor creating anything decisive in the final 3rd.

P.S. Fabregas scored 2 free kicks against villa. Even he was on as a sub and was subbed off as well after scoring 2 free kicks.

A Different George

I thought Bellerin was very good; he looked like he was playing at home against a much smaller club in a cup competition. Which is what the entire team should have looked like. Pepe’s brilliant free-kicks shouldn’t disguise the almost complete incoherence of our attack.


Mustafi deserves higher. I think he had a great game all things considered. Was everywhere and played some nice balls forward.


Definately. Had a solid game and if we are going to crucify him for bad ones he deserves the plaudits when he has a good one.


He turns like a oil tanker, but in a straight line looking eyes forward he is able to see everything and execute some good passing technique. When rushed or being turned inside out, he loses focus and is unable to concentrate on where opposition players are moving to.

Strange how he can pass into space through the eye of a needle but can’t pass the ball to the feet of a central midfielder.

Welsh Gooner

If we are not going to start Ceballos when Ozil isn’t playing then I don’t see the point of not playing Ozil. My god we need creativity in midfield. Poor Torreira was trying to play all the midfield positions at once and it told in his performance. Our DMs run their absolute socks off every game but we don’t have that dedicated creative player on the pitch to properly reward the good work. Whatever is going on between Ozil and Emery needs to just f****** stop already. It’s setting a hugely unprofessional image for the club off the field, especially… Read more »

Merlin’s Panini

We used to have Ramsey, Cesc, Wilshere and Rosicky all capable of linking midfield and attack. Sad to see the state of the midfield now, however I do think it’s due to poor instruction and playing the wrong combinations more than the players. A Guendouzi, Torreira pivot with Ceballos or Ozil ahead would be best in my opinion. I do like Willock too. He just had a bad game today.


I like to see Chambers get a shot ahead of Torreira. Emery clearly doesn’t rate him as a DM. Perhaps because he needs someone to build the play.

Let’s not forget that Torreira only had one season as a DM for Sampdoria before he came to us. He is still learning the craft and how to ensure he protects the ball and breaks an opposition press.

Too often he loses possession whilst on the floor after a messy dribble.


Errrm – you left out the little smiley fella with the two magic feet


The issue is, that UE wants to play mostly and mainly through flanks.


… so UE does not need typical No. 10 playmaker. But he does not realize, that the team still needs (and currently misses) midfielder (as midfield is the heart of the team), who can link up our play, who can interconnect everyone around him, who can make the team display comprehensive. Without such a player, the rest of team must be very organized and compact.


Wasnt Özil great at real madrid when he had ronaldo running down the wing? Pepe sure can do that? Just a thought. I really cant see why he hasnt got a place in our team especially when we are performing like this.


Clearly it’s awesome arsenal won the game. I’m happy for Pepe. Maybe this will be the trigger but probably not. It was 2 free kicks. He still wasn’t all that great in live situations. Laca and his acting? Wtf that was embarrassing. Overall I liked what ESR, Martinelli, Guendouzi and the back line did tonight. Even though they seem to carve us up a lot even with the “3” first team defenders out there. Didn’t get to watch the first half so I’m not sure how bad AMN or Willock were One thing that was weird seeing in the second… Read more »

Gooner Sam

Thank fuck for Pepe, so happy for him. Victoria played well and we didn’t, it happens. However I remain completely unconvinced Emery is the man to take us forward. I’d rather not have it worse before we make a change. The momentum is lagging and I think that could be very bad for us longterm if we let a nice but incapable guy stay on.

Freddie's left nut

I once scored two free kicks in an under 10’s game against a team called Forest Green (not the eco-club now in the league).

Wish i was worth 72m…

In all seriousness, well done to Pepe, time to drag this team forwards!


That was probably one of the worst matches I’ve ever watched live. We were absolutely awful, and once again Emery’s arse was saved by moments of quality from a player, this time Pepe, despite his ridiculous “tactics”. Martinelli was good, Pepe was the difference, I thought the defence was OK, but again there was no functioning midfield, and I don’t blame any of the players because Emery has now managed to sabotage even the cup team. I also think the Ozil situation is affecting the team, many of them have liked the tweet, which would indicate support for him, and… Read more »


Part of me wants to say this is Pepes moment, but the other part of me thinks he’ll ease into it slowly from here. You know what, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Sometimes as fans we can expect too much too soon and while his price tag almost demands instant success, I think he’ll do much better in the long run with performances like this. The rest of the team has been covered by other comments but I just wanted to say that there’s something real special about a high potential player finally delivering and us seeing a… Read more »


Stoked to see Bellerin, Tierney and Holding finally on the pitch at the same time too. They won’t solve the midfield problem but I really get the feeling they’ll make some crucial contributions at the end, in the long run.


This victory is just Pepe-ing over the cracks. Dick Emery out out out.


Reality is a bitch. Those calling for Willock-Torreira to start in PL need to get their heads checked. 1) Martinez – Maybe could have done better near post for the first goal but otherwise we seem less panicky with distribution at the back with him. Of course its a different set of back line but I think his decision making when using the ball is better. 2) Bellerin – OK performance. Still working in but good to see him back. 3) Mustafi – Some people will naturally still blame him for the goals or Granit maybe. If you read the… Read more »

Joey Jojo Jr Shabadoo



Lacazette’s diving – LOL (as in pathetic)

Pepe showing us what his price tag was for! Give him time in the PL and he’ll come good.

By the skin of our teeth.

Merlin’s Panini

I feel Maitland Niles was sold short by Torreira for their second goal. He had four players around him when he received the ball. Torreira had better options available. He also hasn’t played in the middle for ages so not surprised he was a bit rusty.
We weren’t very good all round against a team we should have been beating comfortably.
So pleased for Pepe that he saved the day. Should do his confidence in front of goal a world of good.

Kran Stoenke

Amn looked casual all game. He complained about playing in the wrong position a lot and that’s a big red flag for me. How many young kids get to play for the mighty arsenal? And the odacity to complain! He tried to hide behind the wrong position veil when the mistakes he made were screwing up the easy passes which isn’t down to where you play. And now he gets to control the midfield he’s been absolutely anonymous till he mis places an easy pass or loses the ball trying to dribble past more than he can. He thought he… Read more »


I think AMN is more like a wide midfielder than a central midfielder. His first touch requires work on and his dribbling and stamina could be better used in a wider position. His delivery from wide areas has improved as well. He looks more like Oxlade during his time with Arsenal.


Football, bloody hell.


Really wanna know if anyone had scored 2 FKs in a game for us before.

Monkey knees

Make no mistake; Emery is tactically inept. He is not Arsenal material. Freddy interim, please!!!


Not a big fan of how Emery’s playing the team at the moment, but it’s a bit hasty to suggest that Freddy interim would be better – we haven’t seen any proof of performance from him at this level, and it’s not easy to come in middle of season and change things even if he is out and out Arsenal. It may give a short term boost but the way forward lies in finding the right manager to take us in the right direction, and I’m sure there are better qualified, more proven managers out there who we can afford… Read more »


Parked the bus? 0800-Pepe


FFS im so sick of this shite already. Emery stop being so godamn stubborn and play a proper team!!! This midfield looks disorganized and clueless as to what to do and with no confidence they are at a loss of how to play anynore because he keeps playing players in positions and roles they cant play. Just put a normal f**king midfield in there with our talent that anyone can clearly see and just put the players in their natural positions


Let’s get Allegri in while he’s still available. Has winning pedigree with Juventus and is definitely an upgrade on the buffoon Emery.
Last night was a repeat of what Blogs has been saying for a while now. Talented players bailing their manager out.


This loading will only take 3 weeks…


so does that mean a strike duo martin-nketiah next year? or trio martin-nketiah-pepe?


Emery’s body language after the winning goal tells you everything.


very generous giving lacazette a 6


Brilliant from Pepe and the last ten minutes. The other 80 minutes not too flash though.


What is it in Smith-Rowe that keeps people from saying he’s not good enough?


The crowd was singing for Ozil.. Clearly hasn’t lost the Emirates yet.


Can’t understand these Ozil chants. You cannot force Emery’s hand and even if you do, he will play Ozil as Central defender and shows us all that he cannot tackle.


Guendouzi is looking good due to the fact he’s playing in a sub par team. Suddenly forgotten how piss poor he was against Sheffield. Has all the passion just no real end result.


Emery won’t let Torreira play as a DM. He doesn’t trust a 1.66m player to do this job (Kante would be laughing). Recent article mentioned Emery trying to get 1.88m Fabinho before he joined Liverpool.

Lets be happy guys, we won!! Even though we were out-shot by a supposedly inferior team. Still we won, even though the highlights of the match would be 2 FK and brilliant pass by a defender.

But we are competitive. In Emery we trust (to ruin us)


Emery has clearly identified his leaders: 2018/19 Koscielny (Gone) Cech (Gone) Ramsey (Gone) Ozil (Marginalized) Xhaka (Wrong tactics to show his weaknesses) 2019/20 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Yet to be offered new contract, expires in 2021) Hector Bellerin (Just returned from injury but not given any minutes in league even after availability) Alexandre Lacazette (Has been out yet to be offered new contract, expires in 2021) Mesut Ozil (Completed out of picture) Xhaka (Wrong tactics to show his weaknesses) It seems he doesn’t want these players to be there, lets see what happens but for now he is just ensuring that we… Read more »


Henry once scored 2 free kicks against Wigan. Ok, so he was told to retake it after scoring from the first one, but then scored again, and gave the famous “Is that enough?” question to the referee, Graham Poll.


Not sure Tierney desrves a 7 – at fault for the first goal + ran out of energy and got cramp. 5.5 from me. I’d prefer the energy and the sheer power from Kolasinac.