Arsenal 3-2 Vitoria SC: 3 Reasons why the Gunners completed an improbable comeback | Europa League 2019/20
Arsenal edged past Vitoria SC in an end to end contest at the Emirates Stadium to keep their perfect record in the Europa League intact. The victory meant that the Gunners stayed at the perch of their group while the visitors were left stranded at the bottom.
The Portuguese outfit raced off the blocks and immediately shocked Arsenal with their propensity to attack incessantly. Their offensive endeavours were rewarded in the 8th minute when Marcus Edwards twisted the hosts’ defenders inside out before firing past Emiliano Martinez.
In the 32nd minute, Arsenal restored parity when Gabriel Martinelli towered above the Vitoria defenders to nod home. However, the Gunners’ joy was short-lived as a dreadful Ainsley Maitland-Niles error allowed the visitors to regain the lead. Bruno Duarte reacted quickest after Davidson’s sizzling shot rattled off the base of the post. The former made no mistake and lashed the ball past the hosts’ keeper.
The second half saw a plethora of chances fall to both sides but neither was able to score until the 80th minute when Nicolas Pepe launched an unstoppable free-kick from 25 yards.
In stoppage time, the Ivorian doubled his tally with an equally brilliant free-kick, thereby sparing Arsenal the blushes and handing them three points.
Here is a look at three reasons that allowed the Gunners to post an unlikely victory.
#3 Arsenal turn the screw in the final quarter of the game
Arsenal came into the encounter boasting a 100% record in the Europa League, having won both their games against Eintracht Frankfurt and Standard Liege. However, they were a far cry from a side sitting atop their group as they contrived to pull off a diabolical first-half display.
The Gunners were guilty of misplacing several passes and that invited the visitors to capitalise. Vitoria did so and made the net ripple twice in an absorbing opening period.
The away side continued in a similar vein after the restart as they scythed through Arsenal’s defensive block frequently and fashioned openings for themselves. However, they failed to build on their lead, meaning that they left the back door open for the Gunners to barge through.
In the final quarter of the game, the hosts attacked with more purpose and seemed a lot more energetic, in stark contrast to what they produced earlier in the game. Consequently, they started weaving pretty patterns in midfield and starved the visitors of possession too.
The same enabled them to tire the away side, turn the screw methodically and put Vitoria under significant strife. Ultimately, that allowed the Gunners to strike late in the game and conjure a victory, despite clearly being second-best for large stretches of the encounter.
Yet, with Unai Emery under such pressure himself, he wouldn’t really mind the nature of the victory, as long as they keep racking them up.