Mikel Arteta has hailed the impact Fabio Vieira had for Arsenal against Fulham.

Whilst Arsenal were ultimately held to a draw by Fulham at the Emirates Stadium, the north London outfit did well to get back into the game after conceding inside the first minute.

Arsenal toiled for an equaliser without reward, until Mikel Arteta introduced Fabio Vieira from the bench in the 56th minute. The Portuguese playmaker quickly changed the game. He showed some neat touches after coming on, and a clever run to the byline saw Vieira brought down in the box by Kenny Tete to win a penalty for the Gunners.

Bukayo Saka dispatched the spot kick to bring Arsenal back on to level terms, and just two minutes later they were ahead. Vieira curled in a perfectly placed low cross for Eddie Nketiah to guide into the back of the net.

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Although Arsenal couldn’t ultimately hold on to their lead and see out the win, Vieira will be personally delighted with his own impact on the match.

Arsenal paid £34 million to prise Vieira away from Porto last summer. The 23-year-old struggled in his first season in English football. Aside from one or two flashes of quality, he wasn’t able to make a significant impression last season, and looked a little too lightweight to thrive in the Premier League. He was only handed 3 starts in the top flight last time out.

Arsenal FC v Fulham FC - Premier League
Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Arteta says Vieira deserves more minutes for Arsenal

Arteta has kept faith in the attacking midfielder though, and will have been delighted to see him exert his influence against Fulham. Speaking to the BBC after the match, the Spanish coach said, “Fabio [Vieira] was involved in everything we created and I am really happy with that, to see players with the ability to make and take chances with quality, the same with Eddie [Nketiah]. It is my fault that Fabio has not played more and today he gave me reasons to play him more.”

Vieira will expect more starts this season, and if he can maintain the form he showed against Fulham then he may soon find himself in the starting XI ahead of Kai Havertz, who hasn’t managed to hit the ground running in north London.

Arteta may well feel that he has held Vieira back until now, but perhaps the time he was given to acclimatise, without the pressure of having to produce for Arsenal week in week out, was exactly what he needed in order to flourish.

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