Fabio Vieira, the 23-year-old Portuguese midfielder, appeared in 33 matches for Arsenal last season. While that might seem like quite a reasonable number, the fact that he played in most of those matches as substitutes makes one believe that he was somewhat underused by the Gunners.
He shares his surname with former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira — if he goes on to have even a fraction of the Frenchmen’s success at the Emirates, supporters will be elated. However, for that to happen, he needs more game time and he is probably staking claim for that with his recent performances.
Arsenal’s attacking unit one of the best in the league
Arsenal have one of the best attacking units in the Premier League with the likes of Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus. It got further strengthened by the signing of Kai Havertz from Chelsea at the start of this season.
However, with Havertz’s inclusion, the Arsenal formation Arteta prefers is a 4-3-3 and switching to a 3-4-2-1 while having possession. Havertz is not playing in as advanced a role as he did at Chelsea and playing as a No. 8 instead for the Gunners.
However, he is yet to come up with a performance that set the league on fire. His stint at Chelsea was quite an underwhelming one, despite him scoring the winning goal for them in the UEFA Champions League final in 2021.
However, with Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli almost assured of a place in the starting eleven, Mikel Arteta could think of playing Havertz as the No. 9 in place of Trossard, who has scored once in three matches for them. Still, Trossard gets the nod over Havertz on current form and if Vieira is to make a start for them, he will have to do that at the expense of Havertz.
Fabio Vieira is the 2nd best Portuguese behind CR7. There I said it pic.twitter.com/T1j8qGU2ti
— Caz🐐 (@Arseneknows4) August 28, 2023
Vieira’s performance has been quite good
Vieira is endowed with almost every quality that an attacking midfielder can hope to have and they should be put to proper use by Arsenal. His dribbling and passing is top-notch, he is speedy and likes to venture into the opposition penalty box with ease, as he did against Fulham to earn a penalty.
In addition to the above, the Portuguese has a good shot on him, too, and can put the opposition goalkeeper under stern test from outside the penalty box. As a result, Arsenal have looked a better side for his introduction into a match. However, should he start as a No.8, he will have to take up some additional defensive responsibility _ an aspect of his game that is yet to be proved.
Will he get a start against Manchester United?
Arsenal will come up against Manchester United in their next match on Sunday, September 3. It remains to be seen whether Arteta takes the risk of staring Vieira against them. United’s defence has looked vulnerable in their last few matches and they will probably not want to come up against an attacker of Vieira’s calibre.
Hence, this season is likely to provide Vieira with a greater chance of improving upon his goals and assists for the Gunners. However, it is a call for Arteta to take at the end of the day.