Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Arteta: We’ll see where Vieira clicks

On Wednesday night, Mikel Arteta watched from the stands as Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe stepped up their pursuit of full fitness with 45 minutes for Arsenal’s under-21s.

The two midfielders were in constant communication as they dovetailed down the right flank and showed a fluidity of movement that hints at how they might be used in the first team.

Arteta has since confirmed the duo will both be available for selection against Bournemouth although most likely they will have to settle for a place on the bench.

So where might Vieira be deployed when he makes his long-awaited debut? That was the question put to the boss ahead of the trip to the Vitality.

“Fabio’s versatility is something that caught our eye and we believe that he is going to give us a lot of options,” said Arteta. 

“It’s about nurturing how they work together and the type of players that Fabio needs around him to exploit his qualities, which we feel in this side could be very powerful, so we will have to wait and see how that develops.”

Arteta was also asked whether it was a deliberate tactic to partner Vieira and Smith Rowe in the under-21s.

He answered: “We want players that make each other better, and in order to do that, first of all there has to be a chemistry between those players, an understanding and timing and different qualities that they need in order to get what we want to get done.

“We are building that relationship; Fabio has been training with us for a week so he needs to develop that and see where he clicks and where he can make a big impact for the team.”

Arteta wasn’t the only important attendee at Wednesday’s Premier League Cup match with Swansea. Striker Gabriel Martinelli, CEO Vinai Venkatesham, Director of Football Operations Richard Garlick and first team coaches Albert Stuivenberg, Steve Round and Carlos Cuesta were also in the stands to lend their support to Mehmet Ali’s boys.

“When we have the time, we want to take the opportunity to be there, be close to them and give support to Mehmet, the coaches and the players,” said Arteta.

“We need to build the connection between the first-team and the academy and be very much aligned in how we want to play, evolve our players and basically get the talent into the first-team. That’s the aim that we have as a club.”

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He looks like he’ll compete with Ode, Saka and ESR particularly. Small, not muscly, tricky and better attacking than defending.


I see him as the future replacement to Xhaka – a counterparty to Ode on the left.

Arteta tried ESR there a couple of times but he’s much more a final third player, whereas Fabio can also be a deeper playmaker.

Somewhat surprisingly, Xhaka has done really well there lately but his lack of skill in short spaces is obvious sometimes. If we continue to dominate matches and force other teams to park the bus, Fabio will be a great asset for unlocking defenses.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

TBF to Xhaka he has excelled in the tight spaces recently, his assist to Jesus first goal and his own goal last game demonstrate that improvement.

Reality check

Xhaka was there too ànd so was BFG.

A Different George

If that’s true–and I don’t doubt you–it’s fair to ask how anyone could not notice Mertesacker.


Charlie Patino was there too!


I’m sure Jesus was there in spirit.

One Beat Off

Exciting times. I love the nurturing of a symbiotic relationship and the holistic focus on all levels of the club! This is grass roots evolution. Is MA aiming to surpass AW? Early days but you got to love the ambition!


100% – more brilliant stuff from MA

More than a coach, club-builder!


If not for AW, he wouldn’t have the infrastructure and foundations from which to build anything. People forget too soon


I didn’t say anything about AW, nor would I.

However, before MA where exactly do you think we were headed? Look at the amount of work he has done. Yes Edu and the execs have helped but it’s MA who has been driving the standards.


For me he’s rebuilt fans connection to the club. We were a bit lost for while without identity. We’ve had ups and downs but I’m in love with the club again. I always loved arsenal but in love is a different thing

Man Manny

Arsenal is gradually becoming the model for a well run club without state funds.
There are a lot of things to like about the club at the moment. Arteta is now looking like our best signing since the end of the Wenger era.


The only thing to wonder is where the financials for all the transfer business (ins and outs) net out. I’m hoping we end up with a manageable debt structure that can be paid off by revenues and team achievements without the need for pumping big money (which inevitably is not a model to rely on for a well run club)

Man Manny

That seems to be the target. The managers know that that would hinge on the team being competitive on the field. A few loans, here and there, can be easily offset by the financial fallout from the feel good factor from existing fans and new fans flowing therefrom. I remember reading somewhere that one of the conditions for the bank granting the loan for The Emirates Stadium was Arsene remaining as manager! That, to me, is up there with the highest vote of confidence a manager could have. On the other hand, poor players trigger a vicious cycle of mediocrity… Read more »


Which then puts into perspective the giveaways / terminations we have done over the past period to retain that feel good factor for the team and the fans .. always would be debatable and people might think we’re bad sellers but the strategy makes a lot of sense with a high potential for long term returns


Absolutely – we may not have had state funds injected, but let’s not forget the club’s finances were not in a good state after Covid-19 and several years of poor decision making off the pitch. While we’ve undeniably had two great summer’s of investment, the money to do it didn’t come organically from a year without Europe, so will be linked to debt and it is going to be interesting to see how it all adds up in the next two sets of accounts and at what point FFP considerations come into play.


Don’t forget transfer fees are spread accross the length of contract and simultaneously we’ve shaved something like 80m off the annual wage bill in the process. On 4 yr contracts that’s 320m in transfer fees.


I agree.

For those online fans who doubt, consider the repeated singing of “we’ve got super mik arteta” by fans in the ground.

They understand and feel what is happening.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Arteta is the project.


I hope Artetas just playing his cards close to his chest on Vieira but it really sounds like we’re not sure what to do with him. Compare it to the clear long-term planning going on with the academy and it doesn’t make sense if he was bought as just general depth.


I don’t agree..

AW used to sign lots of players like that who can play multiple attacking roles.

Players like this exist through all levels of football and when the quality is high, it’s super valuable to a coach.


Eg – Santi.

What a player.

Santi’s Thigh Grab



Yeah exactly that. I can see what arteta is doing – getting versatile players that can swap, overlap, cover. It’s a nightmare for opponents and great for covering injuries too.


For sure.

I also suspect he has next-level ideas about how to play and needed to build the team from scratch to be able to play that way. I could be wrong but I’m looking forward to finding out!


So good to hear Mikel talking about how joined up he wants the academy and first team to be.


I like the show of support in the stands from the management. Before it was just Arsene watching and supporting the youngsters. Good to see greater involvement


TBH, I wasn’t a big fan of MA until recently. The way he dealt with Ozil was strange to me, and the fact that he was insisting that he is honest and it’s purely a tactical decision to omit Ozil (though happening at the same time of Ozil’s political gestures), made me more curious. Then Auba, Matteo, Saliba, etc, made me think he is not going the right way. But, after some time I realise that they have been mostly correct and aligned with his project (I say mostly as no one is 100% error free, no one). This is… Read more »


Two evidences for his mature behaviour: everyone knows Pepe is not in his plans and will leave if he can, but we can see he is happy in training videos. It shows he is respected and well treated.
Another evidence is Hector. He is spanish, has had a very good relationship with MA, but will not be part of MA’s plans. He puts his project and club first.

Merlin’s Panini

His lack of a preseason could work against him this season, especially with the current first 11 hitting the ground running. I expect his integration to be gradual despite his fee but would be great to see him make an impact quickly. Arteta sounds cautious in his assessment here. I’m guessing that he may be used on the wings at first with his long term future being in the middle. It reminds me of Wenger’s tendency to play young midfielders like Wilshere and Ramsey out on the wings to give them experience and a better idea of what they will… Read more »

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