Fabio Vieira marked his first Premier League start with a fine goal in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford on Sunday but boss Mikel Arteta was more impressed with how he did the “ugly” things in the game.
William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus put the Gunners into a 2-0 half-time lead, before Vieira, who joined from Porto in June, rifled home from 25 yards to put the seal on a comprehensive victory that lifted the Gunners back to the top of the Premier League table.
Arteta believes the attacking midfielder role that Vieira played is where he is best suited, yet hopes the 22-year-old will continue to undertake the dirty work that is often required to win games.
“I think he’s having a good progression,” Arteta said. “Obviously he missed the whole of pre-season due to injury, which was really unlucky. But we know his talent, the reasons why we signed him and what he can bring to the team.
“To do it against Brentford, at this ground, on his debut, is a different story. He showed again his character and his qualities.”
1 – Of the 19 players to have scored in their first ever Arsenal start in the Premier League, Fábio Vieira is the first to have found the net from outside the box. Introduction. pic.twitter.com/Gk0HkaA445
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 18, 2022
Asked what the 22-year-old’s best position is, Arteta responded: “That’s something that still needs to be decided. In those two attacking midfield positions, for sure. He’s played off the side as well, so it’s more about the relations he has in the unit and on his side, and where he is more comfortable. But the position he played today fits him really well.
“He’s a creative player. He needs to play with his gut feeling and his instinct. That’s what he needs to do and we need to create as many scenarios for him as possible to put his talent to the service of the team.
“What I like as well is the way he competes, and the way he went about the ugly part of the game really impressed me.”
Arsenal have won more Premier League games than any other team so far this season (six). It is just the third time they have won as many as six of their first seven games of a Premier League campaign – previously doing so in 2004-05 and 2007-08 under Arsene Wenger (both six).
Central to that success has been captain Granit Xhaka, who made the joint-highest number of key passes against Brentford from a deep-lying midfield position (three, alongside Bukayo Saka).
Arteta was fulsome in his praise of the Switzerland international, saying: “His consistency, and how he goes about that every day is impressive.
“He has a willingness always to stay humble, to look forward and try to get better and when you do that, normally good things happen.
“I think he feels now that love and respect both ways [with the fans]. You see our supporters, the way they were singing to him as well, emotionally that makes him try to give even more.
“I’m really pleased for him because in my opinion he really deserves it.”