Arsenal concede stoppage time equaliser to draw 1-1 at Vitoria Guimaraes

Vitoria Guimaraes v Arsenal FC: Group F - UEFA Europa League

Arsenal have suffered another devastating blow with a toothless 1-1 draw at Vitoria.

The Gunners entered the game having faced 60 shots in the Europa League, an alarming tally that's only fewer than FC Astana, FK Krasnodar and Dudelange's respective totals.

And those defensive frailties were on full display during the first half and if wasn't for some smart saves from Emiliano Martinez, Arsenal would have been 1-0 or even 2-0 down at the break.

Even the Arsenal attack, which featured Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli, looked utterly blunted and managed just a single shot during the opening 45 minutes. Naturally, that solitary effort was off target.

In fact, it was actually the Pepe playing for Vitoria that came closest to scoring in the opening exchanges, rattling the underside of the crossbar from long range.

Vitoria 1-1 Arsenal

And as the second half began to unfold with similar banality, fans started to joke Ainsley Maitland-Niles removing his jewellery had become the match highlight.

However, the Gunners did manager to wrestle back some defensive control and Emery unleashed Matteo Guendouzi, Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira from the bench.

How did the trio of replacements fare? We'll let Piers Morgan's analysis do the talking: 'This is the most boring Arsenal game I've ever had to endure.'

Vitoria Guimaraes v Arsenal FC: Group F - UEFA Europa League

Two late goals

However, there was some reprieve for the Gunners as they appeared to have grabbed a late winner from, of all people, Shkodran Mustafi.

The German's first goal of the season came from a set piece which - albeit delivered accurately by Pepe - felt unsurprising given their lack of creative success from open play.

But then, deep into stoppage time, Vitoria pulled the game out from the fire and bagged a dramatic equaliser from Bruno Duarte.

It wasn't the cleanest of scissor kicks you'll see this season, but it was enough to loop the ball over Martinez and a group of desperate Arsenal defenders on the line.

And perhaps most alarmingly, Vitoria almost left with all three points as they created a number of brilliants chance in the closing minutes. Thankfully for Martinez, though, they flashed wide of the post.

Kobe Tong's verdict

Arsenal simply don't have their heads in the game.

While some of the Emery-related criticisms are bordering on hyperbolic, it seems inevitable that Arsenal will cut the cord if their upcoming fixtures unfold with any resemblance to recent results.

Through all of their falters and staggers last season, Emery always appeared to have a grip on Europa League matches, a trend long predicted after his threefold success with Sevilla.

However, having stumbled his way through two matches against Vitoria, even Emery's positive points are beginning to fade away - and against relatively weak opposition at that.


And if anything will prompt the so-often-patient Arsenal hierarchy to evict Emery, it's the deterioration of Champions League hopes. A top four finish, after all, is wholly unrealistic on current form.

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