Vieira’s introduction at the expense of Kai Havertz, 10 minutes into the second half with his side still trailing saw him deliver one of his most accomplished performances in an Arsenal shirt.
Arsenal boss Arteta apologizes to Fabio Veira after impressive cameo performance,defends Havertz’s slow start
After an underwhelming first season at Arsenal following his £35 million move from Porto, Vieira could have been forgiven for feeling his first team chances would have been further hindered by the summer arrival of Kai Havertz and return to full fitness of Emile Smith Rowe.
12:15 - 27.08.2023
The Harambee Stars defender had a good individual performance in the defeat, making two clearances, attempting four tackles and winning five of his seven ground duels.
Indeed, the 23-year-old failed to feature at all during the opening two games of Arsenal’s season against Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace and again started on the bench against the Cottagers.
Vieira’s introduction at the expense of Kai Havertz, 10 minutes into the second half with his side still trailing to Andreas Pereira’s first minute opener, was greeted with a measure of surprise by the home crowd but he delivered one of his most accomplished performances in an Arsenal shirt.
The Portugal Under-21 international won the penalty from which Bukayo Saka drew Arsenal level and then created what looked like it would be the winning goal for Eddie Nketiah, before Joao Paulinha provided a late sting in the tail.
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”‘Fabio was excellent and it is the first minutes he’s played in the PL this season and I was really impressed with how he wanted the ball and how positive he was, the decisions that he made and the attitude that he had straight away,” said Arteta.
“Fabio 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.
“It is my fault that Fabio has not played more and today he gave me reasons to play him more.”
Meanwhile, Arteta has jumped to the defence of Arteta, calling for him to be given more time amidst patience running out on his performances amongst the fans.
“But that’s more the demand of everybody to play forward and impact the game in the final third because we need the urgency to win.
Pressed as to whether he remains confident that Havertz can win over his doubters, Arteta added: Yes I think so and I think he’s already done really good things.
“Today it was tough for him in certain moments. He got in great areas again today and the ball didn’t arrive and a lot of situations he should’ve scored a lot of goals already this season and that is the thing that is missing.
Asked if he felt the home crowd were already beginning to get on Havertz’s back, Arteta said: “I saw an action when he played backwards and he could’ve turned.”
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