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EUROPA LEAGUE – Arsenal 3-2 Vitoria SC player ratings: Pepe finally shows worth as Maitland-Niles struggles

PUBLISHED: 22:13 24 October 2019 | UPDATED: 22:13 24 October 2019

Vitoria SC's Davidson (left) and Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe (centre) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League group F match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Vitoria SC's Davidson (left) and Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe (centre) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League group F match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Nigel French/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal had the influential Nicolas Pepe to thank as they beat Vitoria Guimaraes 3-2 in the Europa League at the Emirates on Thursday night. Read on for Dan Mountney’s player ratings.

Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (left) and Vitoria SC's Bruno Duarte (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League group F match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Nigel French/PAArsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles (left) and Vitoria SC's Bruno Duarte (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA Europa League group F match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Nigel French/PA

Arsenal

Emiliano Martinez - 6.5 - Made some important saves to keep Arsenal in the game, but should have done better with the first goal. Solid enough performance from the goalkeeper.

Hector Bellerin - 5 - Tried his hardest to get forward down the left, but still looks a bit off the pace after a long injury layoff and clearly needs more minutes.

Shkodran Mustafi - 4 - Although he didn't make any clear errors, he should have stepped out to make a challenge for the second goal. With Sokratis and Luiz struggling, he missed a chance to get himself back into contention.

Rob Holding - 4 - Struggled at the back, especially with Vitoria's direct running early on. Should have been closer to Mustafi for the second goal. Looks a little rusty still.

Kieran Tierney - 6.5 - Got forward well and linked nicely with Smith Rowe, but was caught out of position on a number of occasions, including for Vitoria's opener.

Lucas Torreira - 5.5 - Struggled to contain Vitoria in the first-half, but was given little to no hope of impressing in the second, as Emery opted to inexplicably play him as number 10. Can't fault his effort though.

Joe Willock - 4 - Much like on Monday, he struggled to impact the game and was taken off at half-time. Could maybe do with being taken out of the firing line.

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Ainsley Maitland-Niles - 3 - He's been given two chances to impress in midfield, and not take either. Shocking error for the second goal and offered little to nothing going forward.

Emile Smith Rowe - 7.5 - The youngster tried his hardest to get Arsenal on the front foot with some direct running. Linked well with Tierney down the left.

Gabriel Martinelli - 7 - Scored and tried to cause problems for Vitoria. He will be pleased with how he's started life in England, as will Arsenal.

Alexandre Lacazette - 5 - Looked rusty on his return from injury. Tried to drive Arsenal forward but couldn't find the key pass or finish in the final third.

Substitutes

Dani Ceballos - 5.5 - Struggled to make an impact on the game when he came on at half-time.

Matteo Guendouzi - 6.5 - Battled and drove forward. Continues to be one of Arsenal's better performers.

Nicolas Pepe - 9 - What a performance from the club-record signing. Scored two superb free-kicks to win the game. They were goals he and Arsenal needed. Influential display.

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