Arsenal star Fabio Vieira impressed Sky Sports pundit Darren Bent against Fulham this Saturday for delivering a ‘real impact’ as a substitute in their Premier League meeting.
The 23-year-old enjoyed his first appearance of the top-flight term at Emirates Stadium this Saturday afternoon. Mikel Arteta has seldom trusted Vieira but turned to their playmaker as Arsenal sought to reply against Fulham. Andreas Pereira gave the Cottagers an early lead.
Pereira caught Aaron Ramsdale off his line to give the west London outfit the lead after only 57 seconds. But Fulham could not hold on to their lead after Bukayo Saka converted with his penalty after Kenny Tete fouled Vieira. While Vieira later crossed to Eddie Nketiah to score.
Fabio Vieira made a ‘real impact’ for Arsenal vs Fulham
Arteta brought Vieira on for his season debut in the 56th minute for Arsenal’s recent £67.5m signing, Kai Havertz. The German had struggled to make much of an impact as Fulham dug in to defend their lead. But Vieira pulled the strings when the north Londoners went ahead.
Vieira breezed around Tete beside the touchline and the 27-year-old felt obliged to foul the Portuguese gem. Referee Paul Tierney had no choice but to point to the spot and Saka sent the ball past ex-Arsenal ace Bernd Leno. Vieira then paved a way for Arsenal to go in front.
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Fulham left Vieira in space out on Arsenal’s wing to drive a cross into Nketiah, who drilled a shot home. It marked the £34m former Porto playmaker’s first assist in the Premier League since February 18. But the Cottagers responded to swiftly draw level through Joao Palhinha.
What has Darren Bent said about Fabio Vieira’s cameo?
Vieira ended his debut season at Arsenal with two assists and one goal in 22 Premier League games last term. Arteta further only started him in three fixtures after arriving from the Liga Portugal. But Vieira offered two assists and one goal in eight Europa League ties, starting all.
Now, Vieira showed Arteta the impact he can make against Fulham after watching Arsenal’s wins over Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace on their bench. The ex-Portugal U21 talent also impressed Gunners fan Bent with how he helped Arteta’s men flip the script and lead.
“Eddie Nketiah’s got the goal,” Bent said on Sky Sports News (26/08, 16:30). “It’s a little bit unfortunate for Fulham because Calvin Bassey goes down in the box with a collision with Bukayo Saka. He stays down but Arsenal just play on – they forget that he’s there.
“I mean, he’s literally in the penalty box. They forget that he’s there, the ball goes wide to Fabio Vieira – who’s had a real impact on this game. He whips it across and Eddie Nketiah does what he does best. He’s in the six-yard box, tap-in [and it is] 2-1 [to] Arsenal.”