Arsenal lifted the Dubai Super Cup yesterday following impressive wins over Olympique Lyon and AC Milan at the Al-Maktoum Stadium.

Mikel Arteta has a lot of positives to take from these two fixtures, but there are one or two factors he will be concerned about as well, which have to be addressed ASAP.

Here’s what we learned from our tour of the UAE.

Arsenal Dubai
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Five things we learned from Arsenal’s two wins in Dubai

Fabio Vieira could explode in 2023

There wasn’t a lot of excitement around Fabio Vieira‘s signing in the summer after we brought in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko from Manchester City. To make things worse, the Portuguese midfielder came in with an injury that kept him away from action until the first week of September.

Vieira did show flashes of his brilliance at times, but adapting to the English game without a pre-season, unsurprisingly, proved to be difficult for him. Now, he looks ready.

The 22-year-old was arguably our best player in our two games in Dubai, scoring a stunner and picking up two assists. He was magnificent – even though he played out of position on the right flank. He could really explode in the second half of the season.

Arsenal Dubai
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Squad depth

One of the biggest concerns for Arsenal since the start of the season has been our squad depth. An argument can be made that our first XI can go toe-to-toe with any club in the country, but the general perception is that if we lose key players, we’re in trouble.

That, to an extent, is definitely true, but we fared really well without some of our most important players in Dubai – albeit they were just friendlies that shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Arteta was without Gabriel Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, William Saliba, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Aaron Ramsdale for both games, while Thomas Partey and Ben White were only available for 45 minutes.

We still won both games, which is a huge positive.

Arsenal Dubai
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The emergence of Karl Hein

After Hein made a mistake on his senior debut against Brighton in the Carabao Cup, we didn’t think we would see him again anytime soon.

However, with Ramsdale and Matt Turner both unavailable, the Estonian got his opportunity and boy did he capitalise.

Hein didn’t have a lot to do for most parts of the first game, but he was commanding towards the end of the second half. What caught everyone’s eye, however, was his heroics in the penalty shootout.

The 20-year-old saved four out of the five penalties he faced against Lyon. He saved one against Milan as well. That should give him a ton of confidence and help him forget about that error against Brighton.

Arsenal Dubai
Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images

Martin Odegaard’s importance

Since the start of the season, the likes of Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Saliba, Partey and Xhaka have all earned a ton of plaudits for their performances and rightly so.

Every single one of them is key for us, but in our opinion, Odegaard is the most important player in our entire squad.

Our skipper leads from the front every single time he’s on the pitch. He’s involved with almost everything we do in attack, and if he has a good game, we come away with a win more often than not.

Hopefully, he continues his good form.

Arsenal Dubai
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The Eddie Nketiah worry

After it was confirmed that Jesus had undergone surgery and will be sidelined for a while, all eyes were on Eddie Nketiah and if he can ably replace the Brazilian, who has been so good for us.

The 23-year-old Hale End graduate is a very good striker on his day. He has the ability to stretch defences, has good movement and is fairly clinical in front of goal.

However, his performance against Milan for large parts was frustrating – both for himself and for us.

The ball just didn’t stick to his feet when he was trying to hold it up, and that broke our play down many times. It’s definitely not the end of the world, but it certainly is a worry ahead of the second half of the season.

Arsenal Dubai
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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