Arsenal 3-2 Vitoria – Pepe magic wins all the points for Arsenal

Pepe finally arrives as Arsenal come from behind to beat Vitoria in the Europa League.

Arsenal record signing Nicolas Pepe finally came of age as an Arsenal player this evening. The 24-year old came on as a sub for Alexandre Lacazette in the 75th minute and it did not take him long to leave his mark.

Trailing 2-1, the young winger stepped up in the 79th minute to convert a beautiful 25-yard free-kick. His confidence was clearly lifted and he began to run the Vitoria defence ragged.

The young winger is definitely a player that feeds off confidence and the longer the game went on the better he got.

Up to that point, it had to be said that the visitors deserved their lead. They were better organised, more determined and played with better fluidity and cohesion.

For their part Arsenal were their standard lacklustre selves, it seemed to me that they thought that all they needed to do was turn up to collect the three points. How wrong they were.

Vitoria played expansive football, were efficient on the counter-attack and to their credit, played for the win.

However, this was the Nicolas Pepe show and he was determined to win the game for his new club.

Deep into injury time Arsenal got another free-kick and you just knew what was coming. Up stepped the Ivory Coast international to convert his second free-kick and win the game.

We were told to be patient with Pepe and that patience has been rewarded. Tonight we got to see the hype justified.

What a player and what a night for Nicolas Pepe.


  1. Pepe saved Emery.
    Was kinda content with losing an putting more pressure on board to sack emery, but a win is a win

    1. Please…. you know this board will never sack a manager especially if they have to pay him out THEN pay the new manager as well.
      I don’t want my Arsenal to lose any games. Now if I was a Chelski scum, I would as their board is pragmatic

        1. At the same time, no true supported want a manager in charge he thinks is taking the club in the wrong direction. If it takes a loss, and there is always a final straw, to get rid of the rot then so be it.

  2. I m happy for Pepe. Hopefully this will boost his Confidence and We see more of what he can do. I have never doubted his ability. He only needs time. We just hope the time is NOW!

    1. Performance tonight was awful.

      I was surprised Pepe was the first sub considering his form but it worked wonders for Emery. Just hope he can replicate that form in open play.

      Great for Martinelli to get a goal too.

      Lacazette was truly embarrassing tonight.

      1. Sergio, you are hard on Lacazette; he pressed, got into attacking positions and ran himself into the ground when he is returning from injury.

        1. agreed on this! He worked hard and played well, showed good intent and made some good runs

          Still early days back from injury and bear in mind he was playing within an experienced lineup.

          He did start to cut a more and more frustrated figure throughout the game and I don’t blame him at times the service was poor

          Great to have him back

          1. You’re both right, I wasn’t really clear.

            His reaction to the contact, diving and vocal frustrations to the ref were embarrassing. Besides that he did work hard. I am normally a fan of his.

  3. So happy that we won and lead the group with 9 points

    More happy that Pepe scored

    I think Martinelli deserves a try as LW in PL match

      1. You can say the same about Matteo, after he came on we started to drive forward more and his passion and support for lace, another viera

  4. Pepe just looked dangerous today, from the minute he came on he looked different like a man on a mission

    1. Very poor poor display indeed.
      Emery seems like a deadman walking.
      He does not seem to know what to do. Looks resigned already.
      I think he is waiting to be called into the office and told to pack up. Lol
      Cant blame anyone, he has been given countless chances and nothing seems to be changing or progressing.

      This was such a poor poor performance.

      1. Fantastic to get a win against…..someone remind me who are they? Unai get a grip please or move on…

  5. This was a tough watch.
    Emery has got 1 leg out of the door.
    Better fix things up as quickly as possible or you arr out.
    Poor performances. We looked clueless all game.

    Pepe redeemed himself for now. Hope he pushes on from here on.

    We are still in deep doodoo.

  6. Pepe saves Emery again. The clown seems to always have a player saving his blushes. I always knew pepe will come good. I think this should boost his confidence.

        1. Sue, given the tenacity shown in the games, where Arsenal has made come backs from being a goal down, the players are still playing for Emery.
          The midfield continues to let down the defense with AMN playing in his preferred position giving the ball away for the first goal. Willock was disappointing and he and AMN are blowing their opportunities.
          I would like to see the following midfield:
          Torreira, Ceballos/Ozil, Chambers/Luiz.

          1. Should have mentioned Guendouzi as an option for Torreira. Six midfielders, from which three can be selected.

      1. I’m sorry but you’re wrong mate. The stadium wasn’t shouting at all today. Only at the end did we show some signs of real fan support during a game. A bunch of Vitoria fans was making the whole noise. I thought at times we played away from home. The only thing that mattered the fans were the free drinks at halftime. It was my first time at the Emirates today and I must say I was schocked by the poor atmosphere the fans created. Happy for Pepe and the three points though. Emery needs to get things right from the start. We lost another first half due to his poor selections and tactics. He started AMN as a right winger FFS!!! Willock has been playing poorly, sice he signed his last contact. It’s like he’s given up on trying.

          1. There were shouts for Ozïl Sue but perhaps localised and not all around the stadium but there were some small placards, “Why are you not playing Ozïl” and “Emery Out”. I’m there again Sunday and just hope he doesn’t come up with excuses not to,play Tierney, Bellerin, Holding and Pepé. Mustafi had a decent game too.

        1. Sorry a lot of fans shouted his name. I don’t give bull shit story. Everything I say can be verified. Try and check Twitter if you read trending news.

  7. Guendouzi gotta love the kid, the hunger and drive to win is going to make him a world class player.

    Never gives up and that driving run won us the game

      1. It’s just amazing how well he is able to keep the ball while making those runs. So you either foul him or just let him go. Both options are bad options. The last goal proves that…
        Pepe my MOTM. Now let’s hope he takes it from there. COYG

        1. He should be captain!
          Yes, Pepe finally had a good game.. I’m so pleased for him and yes, like you, let’s hope he keeps it up!

      2. How did you like Willock ,AMN and the back 4. To all the naysayers, some of our youngstets are not there yet. Willock replacing Xhaka, what s bad mstch for Joe. And AMN gets eorse by the day. The only one from todays back 4 to use against CP is Tierney.

        1. Ainsley had a shocker & Willock was poor also. I agree about Tierney, although he wasn’t brilliant, he popped up with an assist!
          Quite a few looked rusty, I thought.

    1. I hope AdMartin in his usual player ratings won’t continue saying he ran headlessly as usual and wasn’t effective..
      The hell am I saying?
      AdMartin could even end up rating Xhaka who didn’t play at all above Guendouzi😂😂

  8. Goals win games.
    Formations and tactics don’t mean any thing.
    You can have 9 average players but win with two predators like Martinelli and Pepe.
    Auba and Laca as well.
    PALM. Pepe Auba Laca Martinelli.
    When PALM finally kicks into gear Arsenal will be in business.

    1. What happen if DEFENCE leaks goals?
      We will always lose if DEFENCE leaks goals>PALM. Period. Don’t cover the problem that Arsenal is poor. What will happen if this is an away match. Arsenal may RIP.

      1. Kenny, the midfield needlessly giving the ball away or misplacing passes is placing undue pressure on the defense. Also why is Torreira playing so far forward?

  9. #Pepedemgang
    That’s how we roll. Unai almost blew this one again. I really hope Pepe carries this form and confidence into the Epl.

  10. 🌶️ set off the fireworks….. I hope this marks the beginning of a purple patch for him….. COYG!… but still #kickouttheemery

  11. 2 brilliant free kicks does not mask the inadequate performance from Arsenal Fc. 3 points yes but not good enough.

  12. For CP I would start:


    But Emery won’t do that.

    1. Torreira is doing Fck All.
      He is light weight and easily bullied off the ball.
      But with all the other midfielders we have right now he is best of a bad bunch.

      1. wow…another troll piece. I believe you also bagged Matteo?
        He is being played in the wrong position, he is better as a DM and please non of this nonsense of being partnered with Xhaka
        Torreira as DM. Mattel as b2b and Ozil as 10. Keep them thru thick and thin and allow them to build up a relationship not chop and change the midfield every game

        1. “Torreira as DM. Mattel as b2b and Ozil as 10.”

          Did you see Ceballos play? What has he not done enough of? Or is he not popular enough?

    2. I like that lineup. Laca can come on as sub if attackers are struggling.

      I’d also bring Ozil on as a sub, but think Emery too stubborn, arrogant, and vindictive to admit he’s wrong and we need more creativity from midfield.

      More likely Emery field 3 DM’s again for spite and to mug fans.

    3. @innit Spot on with the formation and selection . Emery is a few loses away from getting a sack .His players keep saving him . Now wait for the game against Crystal palace and watch Xhaka , Sokratis ,Kola and Luis all make starts . For AMN he is finished at this club . Ozil i can understand but the nonchalance from a kid who has not achieved any thing is just stupid. Willock should also bear caution . I am one of those who think we is a bit average .We are dreadful to watch . Can anyone stake their cash that arsenal can beat West ham , LEciester City, Everton , Wolves cuz i dont see it .

  13. I think Pepe isn’t at fault f his poor performances at all. I think Emery tactics and stupid formation is actually not helping him.

    For now no matter how back Pepe plays I will never blame him. I will wait till we have a better and top coach or probably if Emery kind of miraculously start thinking right before I will start thinking about judging him.

    Even Messi will play shit in this clueless pattern and boring team play

    1. Pepe has been poor because he is light weight, weak and lazy.
      It’s up to him to stand up and be counter like he did today.
      Every player has got to take some responsibility for their performances. Can’t be blaming the manager for some players poor performances and blame others as individuals.

      1. Goon….

        you really are a spud troll in disguise right? Another player that doesn’t deserve criticism atm. Havant heard you bag AMN Xhaka or Willock
        Pepes performances outside the box has been strong AND it’s only his 8th? game. Boyo it’s not Fit a
        Can’t blame the manager? whose tactic is it to play slow then have to break down a 10 man wall? I thought it was Kola himself always going back but after I saw Tierney also do so, it just has to be the team tactics. And who plans this?

  14. It must be in Emery’s mind that if he played Ozil tonight (or any night) and he has a blinder and sets up four goals, then it will make it almost impossible to leave him out in the PL.

    Easy option to leave him out again. Doesn’t put him in a difficult position for the weekend.

    As a coach, you should not have such a personnal attitude. You should show some maturity.
    We clearly struggled in this game and did not deserve to win.Pepe just as Auba does has again saved Emery. Phew
    As I always say, Willock is not ready to start in any game just as Nelson. Saka and Niles to add Martinelli are far better

  15. Brilliant from Pepe, hopefully he kicks on from here. Guendouzi also has another great game. Everybody else just okay. Not a performance to feel great about but job done tonight, and looking good for moving on.

  16. Guendouzi & Ceballos made a big difference, and obviously Pepes finishing his an average 1st half due to Emery’s continued starting midfield just like in the PL. if only he’d start these guys on a Saturday with the aim to drive forward at speed instead of the pedestrian Xhaka. Tactically poor, baled out against by individual brilliance.

  17. Didn’t see the game… But going by some comments I saw during the game and even after Arsenal won. I can tell the confidence ain’t in no way growing.
    Keep reading shocking performance and all sorts of bad reviews.
    Glad for Pepe’s brace tho.
    Hopefully he picks up in league games.

    Emery Emery, oh Emery…
    That’s all I have to say😂😂

  18. What can I say…two amazing free kicks. Also Ceballos and Guendouzi are twice as good as AMN and Willock. But we need a really creative player in midfield.

  19. What can I say…two amazing free kicks. Also Ceballos and Guendouzi are twice as good as AMN and Willock. But we need a really creative player in midfield.

  20. I think the biggest factor tonight was actually the players – AMN was dreadful, Willock was sloppy, ESR, Bellerin and KT all looked off the pace, Laca didn’t look in top form either – game minutes and time to develop some familiarity needed for most of the squad imo, Willock could probably do with a loan spell and as for AMN – not sure what is best for him, that was one of his worst performances and yet was apparently a more favoured position 🤷‍♂️

    Would really love to see a 442/4411 with that backline (maybe Chambers or Luiz for Mustafi but he wasn’t bad again today), Pepe, Guendouzi, Ceballos and Martinelli in the midfield and Laca and Auba up top.

  21. It’s not so much our defenders are bad it’s the midfield is atrocious..willock was gassed at the 6′ mark..they get easily bypassed and leisurely jog back..Emery has to move Torreira back, he is not the same player up top..niles and willock were turnstiles

  22. Attitude, will to win, fight, desire, “balls” , call it what you like but we all know a ballsy player when we see one and also when we don’t! Guendouzi and Martinelli are our ballsiest young players. A M-N PLAYED LIKE A EUNOCH. Only real blokes are the right type for me in our team.I can’t stand timid, lazy “eunochs” and I want all of them out of our club right now. We got out of jail tonight thanks to our young “blokes”, one of whom became a ballsy player for the last 15 minutes(all his time on the pitch) and showed his great talent. Well done Pepe!

    1. Good evening
      Been a long time since I have seen you
      I do hope all has been well with you
      The bullsyness..if there is such a word should first come from the manager
      I am afraid I called it wrong with him ..even though I want him to do well…because if does well then the team does well and we all feel like a millions dollars all the time but I cant see it happening
      The players look baffled half the time. They dont understand the system he wants them to play and he still keeps picking players who are not good enough for us week in week out
      With this squad of players we should be doing much better..

      He hasn’t been an upgrade on AW and it feels like deja vu all over again

    2. Does not sound like real Mr Fox. Maybe we’ve got ourselves an impostor here?
      Regarding the game, I was determined not to watch it. So just went over the highlights and the reviews here. I’m glad I didn’t watch it. I’d glad for the Pepe lad too. Hoping for better things to come (as I have been doing so, even if the delivery on that hope has been poor so far).

  23. Arsenal play shit tonight, buh someone will always come to rescue Emery with is blushes, Arsenal should start thinking a life without him if he didn’t put things right before Winter.
    Guendouzi our best Midfielder so far this Season, the guy may have some flaws, but he’s doing good.
    Am seeing Auba 2.0 in Matinelli , the guy will score a lot of goals, if he continue to improve is game.
    Pepe steal the show tonight, I hope he build is confident on this momentum.

  24. And Pepe’s first real act of the season is saving the team from what would have been a calamitous defeat at home to a team with a female name

    Emery can breathe one more night

  25. Happy for the win and Pepe though Emery should still go I just saw him clapping and no big celebration may be he knew deep down we played worse than what the result shows

  26. Arsenal manger Unai Emery to BT Sport: “Our aim in this competition is to top the group. Each match is a chance to use different players and grow experience and little by little get better. We didn’t play like we wanted but we showed good spirit. It’s a good victory.

    “We have more information for the away game and for different players it was good to play tonight.

    “Some players need experience and playing sometimes under pressure at this level and the first half we didn’t play or control the match as we wanted and we were losing so with the substitutions we wanted to take control and impose more. We didn’t play offensively like we wanted but again the players showed good spirit to come back after the first half.

    “It’s important for Pepe. He can gain confidence from tonight. When he scores it’s good for him and the team. He’s getting better, playing minutes, playing matches and scoring goals like tonight and he helped us tonight to win this match.”

  27. Arsenal have won seven straight home games in Europe (excluding qualifiers) for the first time since February 2002.

  28. Arsenal defender Kieran Tierney to BT Sport: “It showed the other side of our game. The Standard Liege game was different, we scored four goals and it was comfortable. It shows we’ve got fight and desire.

    “When teams come here the pressure is on us, so it gives them more freedom, the expectation is on us, but we got the three points and that’s the main thing.

    “When you come [to a new side] you don’t want to be injured, but everyone has been magic with me. The manager, the coaches and the other players.

    “I’ve came a long way, I’m delighted to be back fit but I’ve still got a way to come. I’m developing as player and as a person.”

    British teams averaged 2.78 points per game in Europe this week – all seven English teams and Celtic won, while Rangers drew.

    Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin to BT Sport: “It’s a great result for us, especially the way the game went. We went from very good wins at the Emirates with lots of goals. We wanted to replicate that but sometimes games are different.

    “They are a good team, with good players up top but it’s the response. It can be the whole team together or individual players and that’s what it was today.

    “People thought it was going to be very easy because they’d lost two games, but we knew it wouldn’t be like that, we knew it would be hard. We were resilient, we had more chances than just the goals at the end. The team kept believing and we turned it around at the end.

    “There’s lots of things we’ve got to improve as a team. We’ve got to keep the ball better, that’s our trademark, when you give the ball away it doesn’t mean you stop playing like that, it’s in our DNA. You need to keep pushing and doing what you believe in.”

  29. If Penaldo scored these freekicks, we wouldn’t sleep tonight, His fans would call him the goat, sheep, chicken, mutton and ask for the next Balon D’or to be given to him already

    1. Those banana shots are his trademark. He’s been trying them since he came but hasn’t been fortunate enough as he missed by a whisker each time.
      Today has been a perfect day for him and I’m happy for him. Perhaps this might turn out to be the confidence boosting performance he ever needed, and henceforth start striking from all angles with each and every shot.
      Long may it last.

  30. Matteo is the true captain of Arsenal.. more vocal, ready to fight any opposition players that mess with his teammates. Trust me, Arsenal legend if we don’t sell him.

  31. Thank you Emery for those substitutions, it takes a genius to make those substitutions. I love you Arsenal and unlike some fans I will always stick with you through the good times and hard times I will not be a glory hunter who Will only watch some matches and even though it’s not convenient for me to watch you guys on Thursday I will still watch you guys unlike some who can’t watch the Europa league. We are shooting Palace down.

  32. That’s not his most hyped skill it’s his ability to run full length of the pitch dribbling through the opposition whilst jumping over tackles to calmly score or assist at the other end of the pitch.
    Check out his multitude of goals on youtube.
    I appreciate the pl and Ligue 1 are very different but whatever makes him tick when it arrives weve an absolute beast in our hands, think Salah/sterling running at people.
    On his day unplayable.

  33. A positive atmosphere on here for the first time in a long while. Glad to see most of us agree on many things. Happy for Pepe. Hopefully, he’s killed his inhibitions… Hopefully again, Unai will start fielding the right combo of midfielders so that our front line would start receiving proper service.

  34. I called it earlier today, y’all will forget Ozil exclusion until another loss.
    Ozil may not play for Arsenal again. Average performance, lucky to get the win.
    BTW, The favorite Tierney-Mustafi-Holding-Bellerin backline conceded 2 goals today.
    Will you guys now trust Emery to pick his players?

    1. No matter what backline you put in Van Persie said it best today.
      UE does not connect with his players and they are not playing for him. Even Laca was awful today and Pepe is not used properly.
      He needs to go back to Spain which maybe the only way to salvage what left o f his career and also free Arsenal to play better football.
      You have to be able to play football the greats chances ti have. chance to win. Getting beat by Vitoria home until the last heroics speaks volumes at the man’s ability as a manager/motivator and tactician.
      Ged rid of him fast.

        1. The midfield has been an issue all year.
          No real defensive cover as Xhaka is a liability and leaving Toreira on the bench is also the manager’s doing, In addition to that having one of the best creators and link up players in Ozil out is also a problem.The occasional use of Toreira higher upo the field to press is idiotic because is only done periodically with no real plan or consistency.
          Using AMN and Willock today together was also stupid since as he said you want young players in these situations but as a manager you should know how and when you need to add experience so they can play nexyt to seasoned players and learn.
          Who has improved under UE ? even our best players are under performing. Copmpare that to Klop and Pep and now you can understand why those sides are where they are.

      1. The most crap I read all day.the players are bleeding for Emery and someone said they are not playing?Just say you have not been watching before you spit crap.

        1. So i guess when the experts tell you “he lost the dressing room” or Van Persie saying “he does not connect with players” is all crap too?
          The only one bleeding for Emery is people like you that are a flock of sheep following
          someone to disaster.
          The only players he may have on his side are the younger ones because he is giving them a chance. No one else except you believes this guy is capable of having a clear plan of how to inspire and lead the group. Does the PSG story not sink into your brain? World class
          group and nothing to show for except a domestic title which was a foregone conclusion.
          Go back to sleep.

          1. These experts and VP aren’t in the dressing room though – for a guy who doesn’t ‘connect with players’ – we certainly see enough of the players giving more effort on the pitch and get plenty of training videos from the club with him working with individual players to work on their weaknesses 🤷‍♂️
            (working with Luiz to use his arms better to shepherd players and not get turned so easily, working with Nelson to try and make him calmer when being pressed to give but two recent examples)

  35. “Emery made great substitutions” says ES Rowe (I agree). Well that should go down well in the dressing room! 🙂

  36. When was the last time we smashed a team? Seriously, I cant remember the last time we really just destroyed another team. All of the other teams in the top 6 will beat up on weaker teams from time to time. We’re lucky to scrape by with a goal or 2. I want to see us play with more aggression top to bottom. We played a weak team at home and had to barely get by in stoppage time. This game should not be celebrated. We should have smacked them from the first whistle. Emery is late years Wenger with less grey hair.

    1. When was the last time we smashed a team? have you been watching europa at all?Its the first time Arsenal have won seven straight home games in Europe, we have smashed two teams already in this competition.. I guess you expected a stroll in the park again, well sorry to disappoint you but the opposition players too stood up to be counted.. fair play I say.

  37. Great performance Pepe! Please Please continue the same, Arsenal need You! Ceballos and Guendouzi were excellent too! Keep it up boys and here are Arsenal coming!Emery get your selection and tactics correct for the sake of Arsenal!Watch out CP and the rest, our Pepe is starting his pace. Form is temporary and Class is permanent!(goes for Ozil too?)

  38. Not much to add that has not been said. This team went onto the field thinking “cakewalk”. Bellerin, as captain, should have shown some leadership there. Vìtoria played well and would hsve deserved the win.

    AND THE CAME PEPÉ, Emery’s saviour on the night. Lovely free kicks – at last we have someone that can convert these.

  39. A coach that is always inexplicably afraid, mind you not respect but fearful of every opposing team, no matter how mediocre, can not instil confidence on his players.Emery is not worthy of Arsenal.

  40. @MadHatter
    What training videos are you looking at? The ones that UE jumps around like a monkey?
    As far as improving Luiz that is absurd because he cost us 2 games already and as far as Nelson’s
    improvement that is also a mirage. He is a shadow of himself. He was a lot better in Germany.
    What do you really see in the manager that has you hooked to his methods?
    I am no stranger to pro football and I see no signs of anything that spells progress.

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