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Fabio Vieira: Arsenal’s secret weapon

A piece on Fabio Vieira in an Arsenal shirt so far and why there is a lot more to come from the Portuguese midfielder…

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After signing for Arsenal from Porto for €35m, Fabio Vieira’s Arsenal tenure so far has certainly been intriguing.

An untimely foot injury kept Vieira out of pre-season training; heavily limiting his involvement early on in the season, and hampering his ability to adapt to the Premier League.

Prior to joining Arsenal, the Portuguese had already captained his country at U21 level, making his debut at 19 years old, demonstrating his talent.

The Portuguese has since been gently phased into regular game-time; starting every Europa League game, including the recent trip to Sporting Lisbon. Ahead of the second leg, many would expect Vieira to feature from the beginning once more.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta’s faith in Vieira is evident; epitomised by his selection for a starting spot against Bournemouth earlier this month. This selection symbolises how Arteta feels he is able to rotate Vieira in, in order to protect players such as Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard.

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Arsenal fans will have noted Vieira’s versatility in recent weeks; one of his main traits, the Portuguese has operated in numerous positions, including appearing on both sides of midfield, right winger, and recently, even operating as a false nine. Having such a versatile player as Vieira adds an extra level of unpredictability to Arsenal’s attacking force.

Vieira’s output level has been both impressive and surprising; boasting 2 goals and 6 assists in just 12 starts in 2022/23, with several games in the Premier League and rounds of the Europa League yet to be played.

To put this into perspective, only Bukayo Saka has provided more than Fabio Vieira’s 6 assists this campaign. Furthermore, it is difficult to forget this is only Vieira’s first campaign in England, and he is still only 22 years old.

Arsenal fans have had many glimpses of Vieira’s quality; none more so than his stunning strike against Brentford, in September 2022.

Mikel Arteta recently spoke on Vieira after the 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon, stating “He’s a player that I absolutely love.”.

Vieira had developed a strong bond with fellow Portuguese-speaker Gabriel Martinelli; a highly publicised “bromance” between teammates.

With Arsenal remaining in strong contention for both the Premier League and Europa League, quality in depth is essential for the remainder of the season. Players such as Vieira are certain to have a significant role to play in Arsenal’s campaign, as they continue to hunt silverware in multiple forms this season.

Vieira’s ability to change a game with one action is a quality highly desired, and one which may just get Arsenal over the line come the end of the season.

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