EUROPA LEAGUE – Vitoria 1-1 Arsenal: Slump continues for Gunners on damp day in Portugal
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal let a lead slip for the fourth game in a row as they drew 1-1 with Vitoria Guimaraes in the Europa League on soaking wet Wednesday afternoon in Portugal.
Shkodran Mustafi headed the opener with the Gunners first shot on target with 80 minutes played, and it looked to be the winner until Bruno Duarte's bicycle kick equalised in the 90 minute.
Unai Emery made eight changes to the side that drew with Wolves on Saturday, as Sokratis, Kieran Tierney and Dani Ceballos kept their place, while Nicolas Pepe was reintroduced to the team.
The Spaniard also opted for a back five system, with Mustafi, Rob Holding and Ainsley Maitland-Niles coming into the defence.
It was the Pepe's for either side that had the game's opening chances, with the Arsenal man flicking a Maitland-Niles cross just wide before his Vitoria namesake rattled the post with an effort from range.
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Emiliano Martinez was then called into action for the first time to tip away Lucas Evangelista's shot from the edge of the box as the home side dominated the early proceedings.
The goalkeeper made another important save just minutes later to keep out Edmond Tapsoba's close range header as the Gunners failed to gain a foothold in the game.
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Both sides struggled to find the opener before half-time, and that continued into the second-half with a Mustafi header that sailed just over the bar the closest either came with an hour played.
In fact, it took Arsenal 80 minutes to register their first shot on target, but they managed to score from it.
Gabriel Martinelli won a free-kick that was taken by Nicolas Pepe, and he floated the ball right onto the head of Mustafi who got the ball back across the goalkeeper and into the corner.
The Gunners failed to hold on though, as Martinez flapped at a cross which eventually fell to Duarte, whose bicycle kick beat a number of players on the line to equalise.
He then hit the post and Rochinha went close as Vitoria finished the game the strong of the two sides following another flat, frustrating Arsenal performance that left much to be desired.