Arsenal down Guimaraes with pair of Nicolas Pepe free kicks

Nicolas Pepe curled in a pair of stellar free kicks late in the second half to give Arsenal a 3-2 comeback win over Guimaraes in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The Portuguese Liga club scored inside 10 minutes as Marcus Edwards finished off a swift counter-attack with a nice cutback move and strike to give his team a surprise early lead.

- Europa League group stage: All you need to know

Gabriel Martinelli headed Arsenal level just past the half-hour mark, but Guimaraes were soon back in front after Bruno Duarte buried the rebound from a Davidson shot that came back off the post as the visitors took a 2-1 lead into half-time.

With time running down in the second half, Arsenal found their equaliser from a lovely free kick from Pepe, who came off the bench before curling in a shot from 20 yards out for his second goal since arriving from Lille in the summer.

Pepe then provided the winner from a similar set of circumstances, curling in a nearly identical free kick from the top of the penalty area to beat Miguel Silva again and give the Gunners all three points.


"He can gain confidence from tonight. When he scores it's good for him and the team. He's getting better and he helped us tonight to win this match," said Unai Emery, who sent on Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos at half-time.

"Pepe is a very good player and we believe in him totally. We are very happy for him and us because he has two goals and two set-pieces which are perfect.

"He is improving and tonight he has two goals, which are important for us and for him. We didn't play like we wanted but we showed good spirit. It's a good victory."

Arsenal skipper Hector Bellerin admitted it had been a below-par display.

"There's lots of things we've got to improve as a team. We've got to keep the ball better, that's our trademark," he said. "When you give the ball away it doesn't mean you stop playing like that, it's in our DNA."

The win makes it three from three for Arsenal, who are on nine points from three matches to lead Group F ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Information from Reuters was used in this story.