Arsenal got off to a winning start to open their 2022-23 Premier League campaign with a 2-0 result at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace to kick start a season filled with increased expectations after the Gunners have once again considerably strengthened the senior squad under manager Mikel Arteta.
In the run-up to their weekend clash for their home opener at the Emirates against Leicester City, Arteta opened up about one of the club’s key additions this summer in Portuguese U21 international Fábio Vieira.
Football.London’s Kaya Kaynak asked Arteta where he felt Vieira would fit in tactically at Arsenal after his arrival from Portuguese giants FC Porto, with the Spanish headmaster offering up a key tactical breadcrumb regarding what fans may be able to expect from the 22-year-old in the coming years during his pre-match press conference earlier today.
“I think that’s something that the player is going to tell us. We have tried him in training in different positions. He has played off the left, off the right he has played as a false nine, attacking midfielder.”
“He doesn’t want to be locked into one position as well because he’s so used to it. That’s a really positive thing for us.”
Vieira could make his first appearance for the club this weekend against Leicester after recovering from a foot injury that largely kept him away from the club’s pre-season preparation, and his presence on the bench would be exciting enough for fans, but Arteta noting his versatility could mean he is set for an even bigger role in his inaugural season at Arsenal than perhaps first expected.
Capable of playing as an 8, 10, or on either flank, Vieira offers the type of valuable tactical versatility that a player akin to Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva brings to Pep Guardiola’s senior setup, which is likely one of the key reasons why Arsenal spent £30m on the youngster this summer despite the presence of Martin Ødegaard, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Emile Smith Rowe in the first-team.
It is likely that Vieira will not only offer a player profile capable of replacing any of the aforementioned options in the starting XI but more importantly, also slotting into central midfield alongside Thomas Partey should Arteta call for an, even more, attack-minded starting XI on any given week.
Furthermore, given the length of the season and the notion that Arsenal will be pushing for honors on all fronts, injuries are sure to pile up at some stage, and Vieira’s presence in the team alleviates possible concerns if the likes of Ødegaard or Saka were to be sidelined on the treatment table.
Bringing goals and assists (6 goals and 14 assists last season in Liga NOS) to the club from a myriad of positions while offering technical and tactical quality that ticks all of Arteta’s needs are sure to not only serve Vieira in good stead but Arsenal as well.