Mikel Arteta reveals Fabio Vieira is giving him ‘big headaches’ as Arsenal midfielder pushes for starts

 (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says Fabio Vieira is giving him “big headaches” and has backed the midfielder to play a role in the title race.

Vieira joined Arsenal in the summer from Porto in a deal that could eventually be worth around £34million.

The 22-year-old, however, has struggled during his first season in England and he has started just one Premier League game.

Arteta always predicted it would take time for Vieira to adapt to English football and insists now he is getting up to speed.

“He is starting to give me big headaches because I see every single day what he is capable of doing,” said Arteta.

“A tremendous player; he now understands exactly what we want and physically he is in a condition to compete at the right level in this league.

“He brings qualities that we don’t have in the squad. Very eager to give him more [minutes].”

Arsenal are currently two points clear at the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand, and head to Leicester on Saturday looking to extend their lead over Manchester City.

Arteta is convinced Vieira can play a role in helping the Gunners win a first title since 2004 and has backed him to make an impact.

Many have questioned the midfielder’s size, but Arteta thinks it is a case of playing to his strengths to get the best out of him.

“If he needs to compete for 30 balls in the air against certain players in this league, I think he is going to lose 28,” he said.

“But if we give him the ball in the right spaces, and if we ask him to do some defensive work he can do… if we put him in front of goal the amount of times that we want to do, I think he will do really well in this league.

“But if we do the opposite I don’t think he is going to do well.”