Arsenal head into Thursday evening’s Europa League meeting with Bodo/Glimt in an exceptional run of form, with Mikel Arteta’s side having won five fixtures in all competitions on the bounce – with the Spaniard undoubtedly hoping that the Gunners can continue this impressive run in Norway tonight.
However, with a tricky trip to Leeds United coming up for Arsenal this weekend, perhaps it would be wise for the 40-year-old manager to somewhat shuffle his pack against the Eliteserien side, handing a number of his first-team regulars a much-needed rest from the Gunners’ relentless schedule, as well as affording some of his fringe players the opportunity to impress.
And, one such player who would appear well worth a start is Fabio Vieria, the club’s £34m summer signing from FC Porto who has so far been handed just three starts for the Gunners, despite having caught the eye with a number of impressive cameos.
Indeed, in his one Premier League start so far this season – the 3-0 victory over Brentford last month – the £30.5m-rated talent highly impressed in the number 10 role, enjoying 52 touches of the ball, boasting a pass completion rate of 81%, making one key pass and scoring the Gunners’ third of the game with a spectacular long-range drive that crashed in off the post.
These metrics saw the Portugal U21 international earn an extremely impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.1, while Arteta also praised the 22-year-old for his display in west London, stating (via Planet Football):
“He’s having a good progression because he missed pre-season due to injury. But we know his talent and why we signed him and what he can bring to the team. He showed his character and his quality.
“He is a creative player, he needs to play with his instinct and we need to create as many scenarios as possible for him. The goal here and the way he went about the ugly part of the game, I was really impressed with.”
The attacking midfielder also caught the eye in the reverse fixture of tonight’s meeting with Bodo/Glimt last week, scoring one goal, registering one assist and creating two big chances for his teammates, as well as completing 100% of his passes and making three key passes – with these returns seeing the £45k-per-week playmaker earn a sensational SofaScore match rating of 8.0.
This display saw the former Porto starlet earn significant praise from Joe Cole, with the former England international stating of the Portuguese sensation (via Eurosport):
“He is brimming with confidence. He has finished beautifully into the roof. He is one of those technicians that everything he does he does it with purpose. He has an absolute velvet left foot. He can do anything. He has competition with [Martin] Odegaard, one of the club captains, but he is a fantastic player.”
Indeed, Cole is correct in stating that Vieira does face extremely strong competition for a starting spot in the number 10 role from the increasingly incredible Odegaard.
However, with squad rotation being absolutely key for Arteta if he hopes to keep Arsenal’s challenge for trophies in both domestic and European competitions alive this season, the Spaniard simply must unleash the 22-year-old tonight – as he has more than proven himself as a game-changer for the Gunners.