[Ratings] Arsenal 3-2 Vitoria: Maitland-Niles woeful, Pepe the hero for Gunners

By on October 25, 2019

Nicolas Pepe was the hero as he scored two stunning late free-kicks to save Arsenal and seal a 3-2 win over Vitoria at the Emirates on Thursday night.

It was another painfully slow start from Arsenal and we were made to pay as Vitoria took a shock lead in the 8th minute when former Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards fired home following sloppy defending from Kieran Tierney down the left.

Arsenal finally got going and we levelled things up in the 32nd minute when Tierney made amends for his earlier mistake by sending in a wonderful cross for Gabriel Martinelli to head home for 1-1.

However, Ainsley Maitland-Niles lost possession in the middle of the park minutes later and Vitoria restored their lead when Bruno Duarte lashed home on the rebound after an initial shot had come back off the post.

Arsenal were sluggish for much of the second half but Nicolas Pepe came off the bench to make it 2-2 with a superb free kick in the 80th minute and the Ivory Coast international won it in stoppage time as he found the top corner with an even better free-kick in the 93rd minute.

Here are my ratings:

Martinez  5/10 | Opening goal went through his legs but could do nothing about the second as he was left badly exposed.

Bellerin  6/10 | An outlet down the right and was solid defensively. Still needs a bit of time to get back to his best.

Mustafi  5/10 | Played a couple of nice passes going forwards but was back to the old Mustafi in defence as he was very poor in defence.

Holding  5/10 | Disappointing display. He looked shakey at times and struggled to contain a very average Vitoria attack. Also missed a great headed chance late on.

Tierney  6/10 | Poor defending led to the opening Vitoria goal but set-up the equaliser with a superb cross. Loved to get forward but had cramp late on so is still needing to build up his fitness.

Maitland-Niles  4/10 | Awful mistake to gift Vitoria their second goal which typified a woeful performance. Looked short of confidence and was understandably subbed at half-time.

Torreira  5/10 | A shadow of the player we saw a year ago. Looks low on confidence and who can blame his following Emery’s comments about wanting to sign Fabinho instead of him.

gabriel martinelli 2019

Willock  4/10 | Another disappointing performance from Willock. Seems to have lost the enthusiasm we saw from him earlier in the season. Not sure he knows what role Emery wants him to play. Subbed at half-time.

Smith Rowe  5/10 | Good to see him back but struggled to influence the game in the No.10 role. Plenty of effort but no real impact. Will take some time for the youngster to get back to his best after a stop-start season.

Lacazette  4/10 | Looked well off the pace and is clearly not match sharp following his six weeks on the sidelines. The minutes will do him good though.

Martinelli  6/10 | Another goal for the youngster as he made it 1-1 with a nice header. Saw a great chance saved in the 83rd minute but was full of energy and enthusiasm.


Ceballos  5/10 | Disappointing, but it wasn’t surprising considering Emery asked him to play so deep. He needed more freedom to influence things further forward!

Guendouzi  6.5/10 | On at half-time and had a good impact. Won the late game-winning free-kick with a superb run.

Pepe  9/10 | Wow! What a late cameo. Pepe scored the equaliser and the last gasp winner with two stunning free-kicks. You could tell he was on it from the minute he replaced Lacazette. Hopefully this performance kick-starts his Arsenal career.

Pepe saved the day but the win papered over what was a shocking performance from Arsenal and we were extremely fortunate to win. Emery barely celebrated the late winner and didn’t even get off his seat. Perhaps that tells us a lot about the mood within the squad right now.

Watch the goals here: