Arsenal played out a 1-1 draw against Vitoria during the Europa League group stage clash on Wednesday night. The north London giants have been in a poor run of form since the last international break and the trend continued at the Estadio D. Afonso Henriques where they were lucky to come up with a draw.
The Gunners managed just one shot on target during the course of the 90 minutes but they were still able to pick up a point with the hosts failing to make the most of their chances on goal. Unai Emery’s side opened the scoring through Shkodran Mustafi from a set-piece in the 80th minute but Vitoria levelled the scores in stoppage time through Bruno Duarte.
Three things we learned:
Arsenal squander their advantage yet again: The Gunners have recently gone on a trend of squandering leads and that was the case against Vitoria. However, things could have been much worse, had the woodwork not come to their rescue. Vitoria also beat the offside trap from freekicks on a number of occasions and Gunners goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez made a superb reflex save in the first half to deny the hosts with the opening goal.
Arsenal’s defensive woes: Gunners boss Unai Emery went with a three-man central defence to provide more assurance at the back but that did not work out as planned. Time and time again, Vitoria were able to find space behind the backline but their poor reaction and finishing let them down. Following the equaliser, the defence certainly looked very nervous with Shkodran Mustafi nearly scoring an own goal while Vitoria themselves were a whisker away from bagging the winner.
Unai Emery’s future at Arsenal: The Gunners have won just one of the previous six matches in all competitions and that came during the 3-2 win over Vitoria in the reverse fixture where they needed some late heroics from Nicolas Pepe. As a result, there are already doubts whether Emery will continue to remain at the helm and a defeat at third-placed Leicester City could lead to his sacking. The Gunners are already six points behind the top four positions and that gap could extend further with a loss to the Foxes.