Mikel Arteta hails ‘dangerous’ Fabio Vieira after Arsenal improvement: ‘I absolutely love him!’
Mikel Arteta has lavished praised upon Arsenal midfielder Fabio Vieira after his promising display in the Europa League clash with Sporting Lisbon.
The Portuguese playmaker was one of the Gunners’ standout players on his return to his homeland on Thursday night, providing a generally lively performance full of attacking potential and delivering the assist for William Saliba’s early opener in the 2-2 last-16 first-leg draw at the Estadio Jose Alvalade.
Arsenal fans will have been pleased to see such continued improvement from Vieira, who has experienced a difficult first season in north London after completing a high-profile £34million transfer from Porto last summer.
Having arrived at the club nursing a pre-existing foot injury, his pre-season plans were badly disrupted and he had to wait until mid-September for his first Premier League start under Arteta.
Vieira has struggled to break into League leaders Arsenal’s best starting XI since and mainly gets prolonged chances to impress in the cup competitions, having been handed his first top-flight start since September (and only his second overall) in the last-gasp 3-2 win over Bournemouth at the weekend.
It has not been the start to his Gunners career that the 22-year-old would have envisaged, but Arteta clearly believes he could have a vital role to play in the title run-in now he seems to have gotten up to something approaching full speed.
“We’re really happy with him, I think he deserves more minutes than he’s had especially in the last two months,” the Spaniard said in Lisbon.
“Obviously he had a difficult start because he was injured as soon as he joined so he required a bit of time to get back to the level that we want.
“You saw tonight he was one of our dangerous players, making things happen and he’s a player that I absolutely love.”