Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal signing ‘deserves more minutes’ despite Sporting stumble

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised Fabio Vieira, who signed in the summer, for his performance against Sporting in the Europa League and admitted he deserves more playing time

Mikel Arteta reviews Sporting CP’s draw

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has conceded summer new signing Fabio Vieira deserves more regular play in the Europa League after an impressive away spell at Sporting Lisbon.

The Gunners made their way to Portugal for the first leg of their round of 16, hoping to return to the Emirates with one leg already in the last eight. That wasn’t the case as Arsenal were actually forced to come from behind to secure a 2-2 draw to bring them back to north London.

In truth, they haven’t been anywhere near as good as Arsenal, although that’s understandable as Arteta made six changes to their starting line-up compared to the one that defeated Bournemouth in dramatic fashion last Saturday. For comparison, the most changes the Spaniard has made between Premier League games this season is three.

William Saliba gave the visitors the lead before goals from Goncalo Inacio and Paulinho on either side turned the tie on its head at half-time. Arsenal’s blush was spared when Granit Xhaka’s pass from Hidemasa Morita was deflected into the Sporting net.

While some of the Red and White players had a night to forget, Vieira was arguably Arsenal’s standout player and even got an assist to show for his efforts. It was his perfectly weighted, outward-swinging corner that Saliba headed to score the Gunners’ first goal.

Fabio Vieira’s performance against Sporting Lisbon earned him praise from Mikel Arteta

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The return leg in Vieira’s home country was just his 12th start of the season in all competitions, which is a relatively low number considering how Arsenal parted ways with £35million to sign him from Porto last summer.

His performance against Sporting certainly caught the attention of his manager, who claimed Vieira is Arsenal’s “most dangerous player” and conceded the midfielder deserves a chance to prove himself on a regular basis.

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