Arsenal: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney, Torreira, Willock, Maitland-Niles, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Lacazette

Subs: Leno, Chambers, Kolasinac, Ceballos, Guendouzi, Saka, Pepe

Arsenal came from behind to beat Vitoria 3-2 at the Emirates this evening, with substitute Nicolas Pepe rescuing the win with two incredible free kicks.

As expected, Unai Emery rang the changes, although there was no still no place for Mesut Ozil in the squad.

The visitors had the first sight of goal, Almeida turning Holding but his 4th minute shot was weak and easy for Martinez. It was a warning sign, and in the 9th minute former Sp*rs player Marcus Edwards put Vitoria ahead with a smart finish between the legs of the Arsenal keeper. 0-1.

Lacazette had a chance a minute later but pulled his shot wide, and the Gunners appeared nervy and unable to keep hold of the ball. Smith Rowe showed nice skill from a Lacazette pass but his shot was blocked, but most of the danger in the first 20 minutes came from the Portuguese outfit.

Martinelli was energetic, and it was the Brazilian who brought the sides level, heading in a Tierney cross in the 32nd minute as he kept up his amazing goalscoring record at the Emirates. 1-1.

Sadly, the lead only lasted a couple of minute as Vitoria took advantage of a heavy touch from Maitland-Niles in midfield. They drove forward, hit the post, and reacted first to the rebound as Duarte made it 1-2.

Martinelli dragged a shot wide as Arsenal looked to respond again, but went in behind at the break. A double-change at half-time ensued, with Dani Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi coming on for Willock and Maitland-Niles.

Early in the second period Mustafi headed wide, and inside 60 seconds Vitoria forced Martinez into two saves, one at his near post and a header which went straight at him. Smith Rowe should have done better with a chance from close range after Tierney did well, but he shanked it wide, and Arsenal’s desperation was evident when Lacazette resorted to some silly playacting to try and get an opponent sent off.

Arsenal huffed and puffed to little effect, Martinelli stood out as his effort set him apart from the rest, and in the 75th minute Emery made his final change, bringing on Nicolas Pepe for the just booked Lacazette.

Vitoria had taken 13 shots to the Gunners 10 at that point, but a free kick conceded 25 yards out provided Emery’s team with the equaliser. Pepe stepped up to take it and curled home an excellent shot for his second Arsenal goal to make it 2-2.

It was a goal the Ivorian really needed and it came at an important time. Straight away Vitoria shot wide, and at the other end a great pass by Mustafi set Bellerin free and from his pass Martinelli saw a goalbound effort saved by the keeper.

Another free kick from almost the same position he scored from saw Pepe deliver a great ball to Holding whose header was well saved by the keeper.

As the game went into three minutes of injury time, Guendouzi’s surging drive won a free kick just outside the D, a chance for Arsenal to win it at the death. Pepe stepped up again, and duly obliged – smashing home a free kick over the wall and into the top corner. 3-2.

It wasn’t a great performance from Arsenal, but what a night it was for Pepe who properly announced himself as an Arsenal player after his £72m move from Lille in the summer.

Now for Palace on Sunday.

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Felt a bit sorry for Vitoria after the shift they put in. Pepe was class. We were quite shit for a lot of that game.


Exactly. They were and are a better team than expected. But the problem is that we are a light year away from being convincing in any instance.

Good to see Pepe get some goals. Good to see Smith Rowe and Bellarin and Tierney get game time. But we still don’t look right. Or close to it.

Man Manny

Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
This could just be the turning point.

But how come this Victoria team is wirhout a point in the group when they look better than Frankfurt and Std. Liege?

David Hilliers Arm Cast

We made them look better than they are. We lost possession so many times and gave them too much space to take shots.


We were out-shot yet again.. that says it all.

SB Still

Emery has to go.


I dunno. You chuck a whole bunch of kids / semi fit players on a field and it’s always going to be a gamble. I’m not saying Emery has redeemed himself but you can’t just blame him for everything negative at the club.

SB Still

He chose Torreira, Willock and AMN in the middle, none of whom could receive the ball and turn their man to progress forward. We also didn’t set out to press and win the ball back in their half. With such team selection and tactics, we weren’t creating anything and were constantly put under pressure!

As young as Martinelli is, he didn’t care for the fucking low block game Emery wanted the team to play and started pressing, which created the first chance, when we had already fallen behind.


And would Emery have got any credit if we’d blitzed them 4-0? Or would you be saying that this clueless idiot has got to drop Xhaka or play Martinelli? This was always a lose lose game for Emery and I don’t think he should be judged too greatly on it either way.

SB Still

After our previous EL game, I have commented about the same manager managing to get such different performances between the PL and EL teams.

If indeed we had won 4-0, ofcourse wouldn’t part of the credit go to Emery?

Based on his EL performances, isn’t Martinelli knocking on the door? That’s why he is getting minutes in PL. You think Martinelli doesn’t deserve it? Similarly, with or without today’s game/result, aren’t there Qs about Xhaka’s place in the starting XI? If these aren’t Emery’s responsibility, whose is it?


The game was changed tonight by an Emery substitution. I’m guessing you aren’t talking about his inspired tactical change though. Somehow even with us winning, he’s a bad manager.


I believe the result of changed due to Pepe, but not the game. We still did not create a lot. Individual skills can mask team deficiency but not for long.
Auba has been bailing us out in EPL, by scoring in every game.


It’s not just this game…


Torreirra’, doesn’t look comfortable getting ball off back four. I love his tackles , and pressing. Some of his covering.This is why manager pick Xhaka, who on some days he is awesome at set pieces too. As he wants to play out from the back. Plus didn’t lucus T. Want to leave in summer or was that just rumour?

Tony Hall

There are those on here who would probably blame him for Brexit if they could get away with it 😉


I think we all know who is to blame for that


Ivan Gazidis.

James Edite

Done Unai


Pepe won us the game with two moments of brilliance but overall a terrible performance.

What on earth was Torreira doing playing the furthest midfielder forward while Guendouzi and Ceballos were behind him?! Really starting to dislike Emery more and more every game.


I love seeing Torreira at number 10 and Ozil not even on the bench. It makes perfect sense.

Man Manny

Nicholas Pepe!
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.

SB Still

Although Pepe will take the headlines, Martinelli said fuck off to Emery’s process and started pressing from the front after their 1st goal!


Can’t be stated enough, Emery clearly doesn’t have a clue how to handle our midfield. Anyone with a half brain would’ve tried Torreira at DM, with Guendouzi alongside him and Ozil further forward. I mean at least give that a try for 2-3 game and see how it goes because whatever the fuck it is we’re doing right now doesn’t work, at all

Hank Scoprio

Just the midfield?

The Arsenal

Emery will die on these convoluted hills he has created for himself.


To win the ball deep into their half, hoping that they make the same mistakes as us basically.

Jean Ralphio

Another unconvincing performance. Happy for Pepe and Smith Rowe did really well too.


I’ve had enough of this insipid football, setting up the team like you’re playing the almighty Barcelona, without any genuine drive forward. Emery does not know how to use this squad of players, let alone any squad of players and I’ve had enough.
He was bailed out massively tonight by Pepe, and his face after the third goal shows it all.


I stopped watching now. It sux.

Dave Cee

Actually me too. Would have had to renew my subscription and sit up to 3 a.m to watch, and after Bournemouth and SU I just didn.t have the will to do it 🙁
Great job by Pepe btw. Hope he really takes confidence and starts to play with a smile on his face


Sweet miracle…


Pepe is here! Hopefully he goes on to even do even bigger madness.
PS: Obviously not the Emery kind of madness ?
Now onto Palace!


Paul Roberts

That ended well!


Pepe the savior sauce. Good for him and his confidence. Hopefully a new Emery’s Saviour is breeding. but meh! we were shit


Happy we won. Watching it was excruciating. Emery out?!

Kanu Believe It

Tierney looked decent, lots to like about Martinelli and Pepe? Get in lad.

Can’t be dealing with Emery beyond this season though.


2nd goal conceded all down to AMN, nothing to do with the manager. He made
a good call at HT on the subs. Sloppy passing all down to the players on the field. Can’t blame it all on Emery every time something goes wrong. As for Ozil,
he goes missing too many times – he’s had enough chances.


its true about AMN, but the first was totally down to tireny. some fantastic moments tonight some terrible, these youngsters have a lot to learn, but when they do, they will be unplayable, is emery the man to take them all forward im not so sure, but good game management tonight. we just need to keep up the confidence and spirit in the team because its certainly there, we showed that tonight, but also that there are mistakes to be had. if uni cant play to our strengths then he has to go


Goals and losses have nothing to do with my dislike of Emery.
Everyone loses games, and concedes stupid goals. But the team performance should improve with each game. We should see more partnerships on the pitch. Coherent defence, dominating midfield, and magnificent attack – how close are we to this goal.
I dare say, all 3 are worse now, than they were before Emery.


Look at the position of Mustafi, for the second and don’t tell me it was not the coach


really worrying that our ‘first team’ problems seem to be present in the better team too


Maitland Niles is very lucky being Arsenal Graduate, Otherwise he would have been playing for a league two club,
No matter how you all feel he isn’t a good nor decent player.


That’s beyond a silly comment. He’s not a starter for Arsenal, sure. But he’s a useful squad player and would dominate the Championship let alone League 2. His issue is hes a but of a tweener. He’s not exactly a fullback, not exactly a winger, and not exactly a central midfielder. He’s more a jack of all trades, master of none. And he’s still young and has the potential to become a master at one of those positions. I’m just not sure which one to be honest.

Reality check

He has ability, their is definitely a player in their no but he is just too casual in his approach. Need to cut out training ground habits and discipline his game.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

You are getting massive amounts of hate, but you are right. He loses possession so easily and looks like he isn’t bothered about making up for it. I had sympathy a bit when he played out of position, but he has shown the same mistakes when playing his preferred position. Garbage.

Des Lynam

This really is our level now. Good to win, but Emery has made this team a mirror image of himself. Unsure, indecisive and erratic. It’s not good guys.
Great to see a flash of Pepe wirh confidence. Boy can play.


Mertinelli Guendouzi and Pepe for MOTM welcome to arsenal Pepe!! AMN career at arsenal I feel is over. The mistake the lack of effort the jogging back when he should be sprinting to get back into position just shows he’s lost every motivation to do well and now doesn’t care. Times up for him at arsenal. Joe willock I keep saying needs time and we should cool the hype he’s not there yet people think he should be starting over torreira or xhaka or even ozil I don’t think so! Emeryout!


Let’s hope this is Pepe’s Bergkamp moment against the saints and he never looks back on his way to being an Arsenal legend


I was just telling my other half about Bergkamps moment. That sweet shot tucked just inside the post. I also called her a jinx as tonight they scored every time she was in the room and we scored when she wasn’t.


I have to take issue with Pepe being compared with Dennis. Calm down son, behave yourself…


not comparing…..hoping this ha a similar jump start to his career as that game did for Bergkamp… time will tell 🙂

SB Still

Only problem is Emery doesn’t set-up to support his forwards, we are creating the lowest chances in about 25 yrs. So, fowards have to be like Auba finishing at an unbelievable rate!


I was there for Bergkamp and I was there tonight. Couldn’t help but draw comparisons on the way home. If he is half as good as Dennis he’ll have a wonderful career.


to much gamesmanship creeping into this team in recent weeks,and its showng in our poor football, however i quite enjoyed the game in the end. did anyone else notice pepe come to life with that first goal , just what he needed!!!! COYG

Der Kaiser

Hopefully that will shut up the critics and doubters. Pepe really arrives! If only our fans were true SUPPOTERS with patience and encouragement!


true supporters! do me a favour! i go to watch inter regulary at the san siro and always stand in the ultras section, these guys are true supporters. but they are not fucking patient let me tell you. they live and die by the club. i think our fans are true supporters WITH patience and encouragement. if pepe had had this start to the season at inter, the fans would be waiting for him in the carpark at london colney.

Petit's Handbag

Sunday team I’d like : Leno, Chambers, Luiz, Holding, Tierney, DM Torreira, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Auba, Pepe, Laca.
Team we’ll see: Leno, Chambers, Papa, Luiz, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Auba, Saka.
I get Lacazette didn’t look fit yet, but he’s still world class and will work even better with the guys around him. Also, before tonight’s game I would of been fuming had Holding not been starting Sunday but now I’ll just be slightly peeved.
Main point is, I don’t want to see Xhaka or Kolasinac playing Sunday and I think Saka could be taken out of the firing line.


Why starting Ceballos? He has been very poor today.. and on monday… and the game before… and the game before… what has he done to always play? What has he done to deserve it? You know… deserve…


“…what has he done to always play?”

Absolutely nothing, really. Especially when you consider that he isn’t by any measure the most popular player at the club. And nowadays popularity should be vital to getting you a start in the first team. Forget vague intangibles like “work rate”. He runs around a bit and dribbles well though.

Tony Adams Nose

He drives us forward and works his dick off.


Well done Pepe. And Martin.
Don’t think Torreira played well or looked commited tonight at times. Tieney, holding and bellerin lack sharpness at times defensively. Midfieldear not goal side of opportunity at times. Midfielders too far apart. Martinelli to start at 9 at weekend for me.


Front three of Pepe, Martin, p.e.a. Sub to come on Alex l.


If Kolasanic starts on Sunday, up against Zaha, I might lose my tiny mind….

Midfield remains an absolute car crash. That result tonight, whilst very welcome, hides a myriad of issue with this team.


Zaha attacks Right FB, not left.

Reality check

Mustafi was solid again today tbf.. more so than Holding who wasn’t bad himself.. the goals we conceded weren’t really our CBs’ fault.

I like Laca, he’s fighter and a leader but in terms of output he isn’t a big improvement on Giroud that I hoped for.. he needs to pick up his goal tally a bit..


It’s difficult to judge any striker with the nonsense way Unai sets up the team. Chances aren’t being created for them. The games are so dull and very unpleasant to the eyes. Emery is a fraud.

Tony Adams Nose

I think Hector has got to start for Chambers, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him line up with Holding.
Leno, Hector, Holding, Chambers, Tierney, Torreira (DM) Douzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacca and Auba for me.


I’d just take a moment to enjoy this win and Pepe’s goals tonight. Then I will join the rest of the group for some Emery bashing tomorrow.
But for now, I’d like to give a special mention to Smith-Rowe. A real baller, he played football tonight. Martinelli is something else with the headers, isn’t’ he? His game tonight is a testament to the fact we have an up and coming world-beater on our hands.
And as for Pepe, he won us the game. So so happy!!


That was harder than expected but I still enjoyed it more than those old, boring performances in PL. Atleast here you see some fresh, exciting faces like Nelson, ESR, Martinelli and so on. Martinelli looks right at home, hope he continues with the same vigor and fighting attitude. That´s what also Guendouzi brings when you see him pushing forward no matter what – I notice him particularly when we are trailing and the team needs to push on the most and that´s definitely a good quality to have (he reminds me Wilshere in a way, I also liked that bullish… Read more »

Magic City Gooner

Another match where a moment of brilliance covers a multitude of sins. We’ll take the points as always and I’m ecstatic for Pepe, this might be the kickstarter he’s been waiting for…

And yet, this was still a Europa League match at home where we were outplayed. It was a match with the fullbacks and Holding playing along with Torreira and the younger guys, just as everyone has asked for. They didn’t make the difference tonight. What other arguments can the coach hide behind?


Happy for Pepe! Let’s see what happens over the weekend. I’m sure emery will find a way to not beat palace, he’s days are definitely numbered. There has been no progress under his charge, tactically clueless


Well done Pepe. Mind still made up for Unai


I said it, that Pepe will come good we just have to be patient cus all he needs is the right confidence.


Start Mustafi, concede 2 goals. When will Emery learn?

Post January Blip

He’s also started when we’ve had clean sheets. At least try to be sober in your judgement

A Different George

I think he was joking.


This constant Mustafi bash needs to end. He did his job today and wasn’t at fault for those two goals. He isn’t playing high profile games and has gone down the pecking order what more do you want.


This was very much a joke in lieu of recent Emery-bashing replacing (insert player-of-the week)-bashing of the recent past.

Nick Moir

Trying to get on after a game is terrible!

Blogs your server is worse than a CB back 3 of Squillaci, Silvestre and Stepanovs!


Wow! What a shitshow!

Tony Hall

Not sure we deserved to win that but bloody glad we did. Not going to be hard on the youngsters on this occasion, it was poor by their standards but still 100 times better than the Sheffield United horror show. Very pleased for Pepe to get those two goals, hopefully he can push on from there. And Lacazette, what the fuck were you thinking. I don’t ever want to see that kind of play acting shit from an Arsenal player …


Laca was extremely rusty tonight

Ray Staunton

Chippy Pepe


3 positives – Martinelli, Pepe, Guendouzi
Pepe.. it was worth the wait ?


There is an interesting “note” about Guendouzi. He is very, very good for his age but it is obviously that Emery doesn’t know how to use him. When Emery sets everyone behind the ball to “defend” and wait for the counter he is “one of the players”. But when we play attacking football, pressing and pushing then he is everywhere. I don’t know how Emery can’t see that (like all of his stupid mistakes in his approach). Many of you said and I will agree, Ljungberg is the best option for now. I want to think that he is also… Read more »


I think Mustafi was very good, in fact I honestly was thinking our best player with 15mins to go. He was everywhere, played some great balls forward, defended well, even the yellow card offence was probably the right thing to do – although will admit it was the yellow card that probably stopped him making a tackle for the second goal. It was great to see him in the box for penalties, and he could have even scored. Not the header he missed but the free kick from Pepe that Holding got a head to, had he left that then… Read more »


Bugger… Corners I meant not penalties.

A Different George

I thought (until Pepe came on, obviously) there were two positives in the match: Bellerin looked like he was well and truly back, very strong play, and Mustafi defended very well, good positioning (!) and passing.

Monkey knees

Pepe saving Emery… Normally its Auba! But… This is the turning point for Nico! Watch him kick on now! We all knew the quality was there.

Kroenke the Klown

I’m happy for you Nicolas. Long may you keep saving Unai’s job

Jack but

Ceballous was shit. He exemplifies everything wrong about Emery


Great to see Pepe shine tonight, but it looks like the creativity vampire has got to the youngsters too. At this point I’d be happy to take a chance on Ljungberg taking over for the rest of the season. We should be playing so much better with this squad.


Will we actually beat Palace on Sunday? If the team puts in a performance like that I highly doubt it as they are very solid this season. What’s up with the line-ups anyway? No one seems to have a clue what they’re doing and it’s due to Emery’s lack of consistency. It’s the end of October the team has to already have settled in while at the moment Emery is still experimenting. It’s going to be a long season, I hope that the quality of the players that we currently have can push beyond the current capabilities of the team.


Really surprised at the negative comments tonight. If you can’t enjoy a last minute winner and double from our record signing as he comes of age then where is the joy in being a football fan? So much to be positive about with the club at the moment yet there’s endless cynical focus on Emery. Matinelli looks so exciting. Bellerin and Tierney provided proper width and created some great chances, something we haven’t had for a long time. Guendouzis engine is immense, Ceballos seems like he’s taking some steps and gaining confidence. This is an exciting, talented young team that’s… Read more »


This reminds me of when it took Bergkamp a while to hit his stride and he got a great brace against Southampton. His individual brilliance was too great a talent for Bruce Rioch to manage and that is sadly the case for Unai Emery and the talent he has at his disposal yet mismanages the team to a point it’s handbrake is constantly on. Bergkamp later paired with a certain Arsene Wenger and the rest is history. I’d like us to be ruthless just this once and move on from Emery the sooner the better.

The Far Post

Did I see it correctly? Emery just stayed in his seat and clapped a few times when Pepe scored the winner? What’s up with that?

COYG 1001

Saw the same thing. Thoughts: He got an email during the game; he knew his team did not deserve to win; and/or he knew the victory had zippo to do with his tactics or management — just that we had a big fat wallet for the Pepe transfer fee.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

As happy as I am with the win, the performance was terrible. We had no midfield, which is why AMN and Willock were taken off, and lost ball way too many times. At the back we looked unorganized and Laca looked rusty all game.

Hopefully Pepe kicks on from those magnificent free kicks. Truly incredible stuff.


Pepe rescued the game spectacularly otherwise a bad performance. I think this is sobering match for ppl expecting Bellerin,Holding and Tiereny to drastically improve the first team. All three were quite poor when defending.


seeing pepes eyes light up tonight after that first was phenomenal especially with the tension at the moment.,and martinelli say no more!! emery needs to focus on instilling this spirit in the team more permanently, because as soon as it even begins to slip at the moment its so so clear.


Welcome to Pepe. Well done. Stole 3 pts. for us. That said it was otherwise another soft effort. AMN cannot play in the middle. His heavy touch is not as punishable on the wing.


Huge for Pepe. Hopefully huge for Arsenal.
I had to leave for work at the 73rd minute mark. Missed all the fun!


How quick Arsenal fans start to throw toys out of their prams. Just remembered the Wengerout brigade saying they’d take anyone and give the person 3 4 seasons to turn things around. Now you get pathetic people holding signs up and petitioning for Ozil as if he was doing the business for us in the first place. FACT is most fans are completely clueless. What was that about a Willock-Torreira midfield? or Maitland-Niles shouold play in the centre of midfield? No doubt they are going to blame Mustafi for the goal. Or Kolasinac for being not goal side for the… Read more »


Just aswelll some of the 1sr team didn’t start. We might have really been hammered!!

Baz Lalor

Shit performance. Really happy for Pepsi. He needed those goals.

Monkey knees

I think AMN needs a loan away. Covering at RB for so long has affected him. He has no confidence at all. Our defence wasn’t the biggest problem today – it was the midfield! Completely over-run! Torreira is going backwards…


Pepe only scoring when everyone is standung still…

Edson Pele

Thanks pepe