Arsenal v Vitoria SC History and Line-Up: Willock/AMN to Feed Saka, Marti and Laca up-front?

Arsenal v Vitoria SC – October 24th, 2019

castelo guimaraes (1)

Vitoria Sport Clube also know as Vitória de Guimarães, is based in Guimarães and play in the Estádio D. Afonso Henriques. The town of Guimaraes is celebrated as the birthplace of the Portuguese nation. When Afonso Henriques proclaimed himself King in 1130 he chose Guimaraes as his capital and the distinctive outline of his castle appears on the Portuguese coat of arms.


Vitoria SC was formed in 1922; its name seems to be a tribute to Vitória de Setúbal which at the time was a top contender for the Campeonato de Portugal, though these days Guimarães supporters downplay the connection. After seasons of toiling in the Braga FA leagues, the Vimaranenses were first promoted to the Primeira Liga in 1941, and two seasons later battled the Sadinos from Setúbal for the first time in the League. Surprise package Guimarães, against all odds, reached their first Taça de Portugal final in their debut season, but lost to Belenenses 2–0. Vitória’s furthest progress in a European tournament was in the1986–87 UEFA Cup, they were defeated 5–2 on aggregate in the quarter-finals by West German club Borussia Mönchengladbach.

In the early 2000s, Vitória struggled in some years to retain its status in the top Portuguese division, then named the Superliga. Those years were marked by the decline of the leadership of Pimenta Machado, former club president. Machado was accused on charges of embezzlement and found not guilty of such charges. Despite this, in 2004–05, the club secured an impressive fifth-place finish in the league and qualified for European competition via the UEFA Cup. The next season (2005–06), however, they were relegated to the Segunda Liga (where they last played in 1958) after finishing 17th in the Superliga, despite reaching the Taça de Portugal semi-final, having beaten Benfica in the quarter-finals. The club also failed to progress from their UEFA Cup group, as eventual winners Sevilla, Premier League outfit Bolton Wanderers and Russian team Zenit Saint Petersburg progressed.

In their first season back in the top-flight, they continued their winning form, achieving an impressive third-place finish in 2007–08, guaranteeing them a place in the third qualifying round of the 2008–09 UEFA Champions League. There they fell to Swiss side Basel due to a controversial goal being disallowed by the referee in the last minutes of the second leg match; Vitória dropped into the 2008–09 UEFA Cup first round as a result of their elimination. There they played Portsmouth of the Premier League over two legs, though Portsmouth progressed after winning 4–2 on aggregate.

In 2012–13, Vitória found themselves in financial problems, which caused them to lose many experienced players and bet on young players. However, they would go on to win their first Taça de Portugal title after previously losing five finals. Vitória beat rivals Braga en route to the final, where they recovered from 1–0 down against Benfica to win 2–1.

In September 2017 Vitória left their mark in UEFA Competitions, being the first team starting a game without a European player in the field.

This will be our first game against Vitoria SC so we have no previous history. Regardless of our woes in the Premier League there is no reason to believe that this will be nothing less than a resounding victory for Arsenal.

In Group F Arsenal has won both games played while Vitoria SC are pointless.


Europa League Group F
Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Arsenal 2 2 0 0 7 0 7 6
Eintracht Frankfurt 2 1 0 1 1 3 -2 3
Standard Leige 2 1 0 1 2 4 -2 3
Vitoria Guimaraes 2 0 0 2 0 3 -3 0
Total : 8 4 0 4 10 10 0 12


TotalArsenal’s preferred line-up (would like to see Ozil too…but we all know the situation):

83 thoughts on “Arsenal v Vitoria SC History and Line-Up: Willock/AMN to Feed Saka, Marti and Laca up-front?

  • Excited to see Bellerinho star. Is Nelsinho fit? If so he will start ahead of Sakinho who played on Monday.

    I really, really hope Ozil gets a game and UE stops his silly games. We saw at PSG with Neymar how that worked out for him.

  • Oops. Rude of me … another fine post GN5. I know nothing about Portugese football apart from Sporting and Benfica and Eusebio and Ronnie.

    As always your posts are an education

  • hi, TA
    if we were in a “normal” situation (after an away win at sheffield), our lineup tomorrow should look very much like this, imo (very close to your own XI):
    Bellerin Mustafi Holding Tierney
    MNiles Ceballos
    Lacazette Martinelli
    i.e. a team that might well establish a new arsenal record win in europa cups
    but we’re not in a “normal” situation, are we?
    many of the above-mentioned players should be picked … sunday, for (what has now become) a crucial game against palace
    provided our gaffer were turned overnight, by some kind of blue fairy, from wooden mechanical puppet into a flesh, blood, truly adaptable being, able to learn from his mistakes, we’d be treated sunday to something like:
    Chambers Mustafi Holding
    Bellerin Torreira Willock Tierney
    Lacazette Aubameyang
    so that thursday team would become (in order not to risk stupid injuries against vitoria):
    MNiles Sokratis Luiz Kolasinac
    Guendouzi Xhaka
    Pépé Martinelli Saka
    which would be harsh on some of the lads who’ve done their best, and/or be more than decent, even monday (kola, pépé) – not to mention bukayo, who’s been amazing, but doesn’t have to bear on his young shoulders the weight of being the savior of a struggling team.
    but we’re now 9 games into the PL season, not one of these games has been convincing (understatement intended) – it’s actually little short of miraculous that we got away with 13 points out of our Newcastle/Burnley/Watford/AVilla/Bournemouth/Sheffield games, so much so that something radical has to be done in order to give a proper beating to palace
    anyway, as of today, ue’s still our headcoach, which means that nothing like what i’ve just written will ever happen, but then again “team1” (4-1-2-1-2) or something approaching (like your own XI) will be a joy to watch come thursday night, of that i’m sure

  • GunnerN5, great post and research. And while this might not be the most Arsenal-relevant response, but the Guimaraes castle above is just breathtaking. I hope I can see it sometime.

    Le Gall, to have 2 games in a row without Guendouzi or Saka we need December. And I don’t mean the boxing day match, but the Christmas wishes. 🙂
    But I absolutely agree with you. Except I would replace Willock from the Sunday team with Xhaka from next Wednesday’s Carabao Cup game, as he shouldn’t play alongside Matteo ever again. That’s a half man advantage to the opponent – that we constantly provide this season.

  • sorry, GN5, for answering to TA while this great post was yours – as always when it comes down to club history
    pbarany, Christmas wishes do mean something to me – i was born on the 24th of december (true story)
    yep, there’s definitely something wrong with our engine room – even adrian clarke’s analysis start suggesting it
    i’ll never abuse matteo/dani/granit – others do that very well (!!) on twitter, but i have the constant feeling watching them play that they are our “shadow” midfield, while our “elect” midfield should be lucas-joe-mesut
    having said that, the main problem will always be at the helm, as long as it is in the hands of a man who treats players like pawns on a chessboard
    how i wish his yoke were taken off our brilliant lads’ necks!!

  • Morning all (6:50am),

    Thank you for the responses.

    pbarany, I was fascinated reading about Guimaraes, it’s a place that cries out to be visited.

    Total, I really hope to see Ozil in this game, if we don’t then it will be painfully obvious that he will not play for us again.

    On another note – I read that when Emery was asked by reporters why Tierney did not play against Sheffield United, his response was that Kola had done nothing wrong so he kept his place. I could erupt with expletives at that response but suffice to say Tierney is head and shoulders above Kola – surely we should field our best players and not caretakers who have done nothing wrong?

  • “how i wish his yoke were taken off our brilliant lads’ necks”!!

    That is a very telling comment LE GALL, I truly believe it applies to the whole team.
    Emery seems to stifle his players creativity and has them playing like robots who are programmed to do specific things – they appear jaded,

  • Super post, GN5. Vitoria G sound like a feisty and proud team and no team gets in to the UEFA league easily nowadays, so I am sure they will give us a game. Portuguese teams like to play the Mourinho way: sitting back and play on the counter, so Emery may struggle to play his version of sit back and allow lots of chances but we will score more because we have top attackers sort of football. I can see us attack a lot and for that we really need Mesut to pull the strings, but things between him and Emery are no so bad that I would prefer that they sort things out between them first, before Emery throws him in the fire again….

    I put Saka on selfishly, as I am a big fan and thought he had a good game. He should have had a pen and an assist when he produced a sumptuous ball into the box for a great shooting opportunity (not sure to whom it was). We will need his explosions on the wing as Nelsinho is injured till November at least… (Erik).

  • When is the last time anybody can remember us only having one player in the sick bay?

    Team news
    Team news: The latest on Reiss Nelson
    Arsenal Media 23 Oct 2019
    Reiss Nelson

    Here’s a team news update ahead of Thursday’s match against Vitoria SC.

    Reiss Nelson
    Left knee (ligament injury). Sustained during the Standard Liege (h) match on October 3. Aiming to return to full training in November.

    All other first team squad players available for selection.

  • Thanks once more GN5– always an interesting read!

    Thursday? Just want the cup kids (whomever) to entertain. If they do? They’ll almost certainly win.
    The rest of Arsenal– is so little fun. One can find dreariness (and willful cluelessness) anyplace– if you look hard enough for it. So disappointing when it’s front-and-center of something I’d once found so inspiring.


  • N5 … you’ve done it again. Interesting history.

    TA … I like your team though I expect Musti for Chambers and ESR for Saka. If Ozil plays to improve his match fitness for PL games, fine with me. But if he is to be played as a relegated player, no for me. I’d rather he is fully in or fully out.

  • After 16 hours of flight and 7 hours difference between London and Singapore (23 hours!) i am back home, albeit feeling tired.

    I hope for better footy by the lads tonight. We were too static on Monday evening.
    However, i know that our footy will be static if Ozil is not playing.

    So, Emery, you have 5 more games left to bring the team back to winning ways or you are out of the team.

  • BK Prediction League (everyone can join/take part):
    Watford v Bournemouth
    Burnley v Chavs
    Newcastle v Wolves
    Pool v Spuds
    Ajax v Feyenoord
    Bayern Munich v 1. FC Union Berlin

  • Watford v Bournemouth = Draw
    Burnley v Chavs = Away
    Newcastle v Wolves = Home
    Pool v Spuds = Home
    Ajax v Feyenoord = Home
    Bayern Munich v 1. FC Union Berlin = Home

  • Watford v Bournemouth – home
    Burnley v Chavs – away
    Newcastle v Wolves – draw
    Pool v Spuds – draw
    Ajax v Feyenoord – draw
    Bayern v Union Berlin – home

    Reading most recent Emery’s statements made me even more angry at him. He is the most deluded, most pathetic, most cowardish Google-Translate-Spanish-to-English-speaking human being ever employed by Arsenal Football Club.

  • Watford v Bournemouth – home
    Burnley v Chavs – away
    Newcastle v Wolves – away
    Pool v Spuds – home
    Ajax v Feyenoord – home
    Bayern v Union Berlin – home

    I’m going on an 8-day road trip to the Balkans at the weekend so I’ll be missing 3 games (a few posts and a lot of comments) in a row. I almost contacted Admir to watch the Carabao Cup game together in a sport pub, but by the time it starts I’ll be already in Montenegro. Anyway, if Arsenal wins all 3 encounters, then there is a good chance that I am the one responsible for jinxing the past results watching the October PL-games live. 🙂

  • Yes Pb, enjoy the Balkans and maybe you should write a post about any Arsenal experiences you have there as in Arsenal bars, seeing, and conversations with, tourist or locals with Arsenal shirts, etc. Of just how much you missed the footie, us at BK etc 😀

  • I am not sure how to feel about tonight’s game. Part of me is excited to see a good game and another part of me is apprehensive to see Ozil snubbed again. It is a game we should win so there isn’t that natural tension you need for a good game, and yet Emery is capable of putting out a team that somehow does not work… It is also Spursday night and we should be playing on the Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is hoping for a good game in which the youngster shine! UTA!

  • Total,
    I’m hoping to see a team like this.

    Bellerin, Holding, Tierney
    Torriera, Willock
    Martinelli Ceballos

    Full of creativity, guile and goals.

  • Ten should be enough today – but just in case we need eleven – here is my missing man.

    Bellerin, Holding, Tierney
    AMN,Torriera, Willock,
    Martinelli Ceballos

  • Admir, I’ spend Monday morning in Banja Luka, Tuesday in Sarajevo and Wednesday in Mostar region but will cross the Montenegro border before the game starts.
    where do you live?

  • I just saw a today pic of Özil and Pires at the gym. I bet Mesut won’t be in the group again tonight…

  • Ozil not even in the squad 😦

    Laca starts

    Martinez; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Tierney; Torreira, Willock; Maitland-Niles, Smith Rowe, Martinelli; Lacazette

  • @pb

    Two hours away from Banja Luka. Damn. 😦

    Mesut on the stands again. From where I stand, Emery is doing a dirty work for Raul – forcing a lad who earns 350k p/w out of the club.

  • pB–

    First– my apology for what looked to be my pirating of your picks over the Interlull.
    Well, I did. But didn’t mean to. Entirely, anyway.

    Wasn’t familiar enough really, to choose across all of the international matches.
    So? I decided I’d graft five of yours and 5 of HT’s into a single set of picks.
    To my dismay– I randomly picked all of HT’s that matched yours. 😒
    Anyway– I wouldn’t have let a draw stand had that been the case. 😁

    (Who did do best with the Interlull picks TA?)

    These guys I do know:
    Watford v Bournemouth = H
    Burnley v Chavs = D
    Newcastle v Wolves = A
    Pool v Spuds = H
    Ajax v Feyenoord = H
    Bayern v Union Berlin = H


  • so sunday we’ll have:
    the “guy-who-has-made-us-more-competitive” looks more and more to me like the voldemort of arsenal football club
    anyway, this is a brilliant lineup we have tonight, with all our kiddos (hector/joe/ainsley/emil);
    i’m not forgetting mesut though, and i’m certainly not forgiving the board, who have let loonay bully our artist like this – shame on them too
    anyway, this’ll be an enjoyable game, come on you red machine

  • Guimaraes are a typical Portuguese club. They love playing against attacking teams, sit back and get a goal on the counter. As a Dutchman, believe me, I know. So 1-0 down and the team look put together rather than a unit… that is because of the Portuguese are well set up and making it hard for us. But at least we are going to have a proper game…

  • Oh dear, AMN loses the ball in midfield too easily and it is 1-2. Great finish by Duarte da Silva btw. I am so pleased Xhaka cannot be blamed by the usual haters.

  • 1-1
    well done Gabe, again; what a kid – I’d be curious to know what frank Stapleton thinks of a lad with that kind of gift for headers
    must have been Kieran’s first cross of the game – was starting to believe you-know-who had forbidden him to cross the halfway line
    very good team, Vitoria, defense-minded but full of very good players, this Edwards guy did a very good job to score his goal
    ta, I’m … worried about Sunday, afraid we might get stuck dawn into a very negative spiral

  • This is so upsetting to watch, we are being outplayed by minnows.
    Vitoria could have and perhaps should have been up 1-4 after 27 mins.

  • HT
    the lads are doin’ their very best, some are struggling physically, obviously – Ainsley a bit disappointing, since he is being deployed in his favorite position
    this Portuguese side looks very good to me, they have a real team spirit – and talent too
    gonna be an interesting second half

  • Perhaps a novel approach would be to change managers at half time and give Ljungberg a shot?

  • Laca is rusty too. Emery took of course two youngsters off and replaced them with his own boys – Ceballos and Guendo – but the game is tactically little changed. Smith-Rowe…. will be cursing himself with too many hasty shots and passes. COYGs. Time to raise the tempo and start passing the ball sharper..

  • But not at half time, Erik. Speak to the players, give them new instructions and confidence… and then sub if it is still not working out.. Good managers seldom take players off at half time..

  • Lacazette is also having a stinker. This was supposed to be a perfect game for him.

    This game reminds me of the one v Olympiacos four years ago when we lost 3-2 at home and Ospina even managed to concede directly from a corner.

  • We really cannot pass the ball anymore these days. JFITA – just feed it to Auba – is Emery’s sole motto. A shame for him he is not playing tonight…

  • Well that was much better footie. Mustafi to Bels who finds Marti in the box. Unfortunately, this time the Brazilian misses, but that is the sort of footie we want.. 🙂

  • Brilliant pass by Mustafi for Bellerin, TA. If only Ronaldonelli had crowned that move with a goal.

  • I feel sorry for Guimaraes as they came with good tactics and almost perfect execution, but we also deserved the win.
    Pepe was amazing, Tierney was lively, and the best passes came from Mustafi.
    Martinelli has great technique and determination, but tonight he made the wrong decisions most of the time.

    But the highlight of the night for me was when the commentator (BT 2) told after Ceballos made a dew hair-raising dribbles in our own box that “Don’t try it at home”. 🙂
    And I liked the female commentator too. She was spot on for almost everything.

  • Amazing free-kick for our victory, hopefully we’ll see Pepe flying on these two goals when Palace come to Emirates.

    Guendouzi changed the look of our midfield and Pepe injected life in our attack. Guendouzi added drive we lacked and got himself an assist (or so) for the winner.

  • Agreed Pb, the female commentator was v good.

    It looked to me that the excellent Guimaraes players were getting tired and started to leave holes. Guendouzi’s run was good but this was Pepe’s show.

    I thought Martinelli was amazing and is my MOTM together with Pepe… 🙂

    Pb, are you planning to do any player ratings for this one?

  • I refuse to be happy about a crappy win, we lucked out against the worst team in the group.
    We witnessed what this team is capable of without the Emery harness, but unfortunately Emery is the harness supplier.

  • On a brighter note we have some budding stars and some existing stars, Martinelli, Smith Rowe are budding and Tierney, Pepe and Ceballos already are super stars.

    All the BOD have to do is figure out the misfit – EMERY.

  • If Emery could get over himself and let this team play the way they are capable of (sans harness) then I would be delighted to see him get and extended contract – the only issue being he will not get over himself and let the team play!!!

  • I’m off to crack open a bottle of Wolf Blass Shiraz to enjoy along with our rib eye steak.

  • Enjoy GN5. I reckon Guimaraes were a lot better than most of us expected. They played well tactically and were indeed unlucky to lose against us.

    New Post 🙂

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