Mikel Arteta sends message to Fabio Vieira after Sporting draw

Mikel Arteta spoke after Arsenal’s draw at Sporting Lisbon (Image: BT Sport)

Mikel Arteta insists ‘dangerous’ Fabio Vieira ‘deserves more minutes’ for Arsenal after impressing in Europa League tie with Sporting Lisbon.

After an entertaining 2-2 draw in Portugal, the round of 16 is level ahead of next week’s second leg in north London.

William Saliba put the Premier League leaders ahead with a superb header but hesitation from Matt Turner and Jakub Kiwior allowed Goncalo Inacio to equalize for Sporting.

The hosts took the lead 10 minutes after half-time through Paulinho but an own goal from Sporting’s Hidemasa Morita prevented Arsenal from avoiding defeat.

Vieira, who joined Arsenal from Porto last summer, started the season for the twelfth time at the Jose Alvalade Stadium and Arteta was impressed with his performance.

Arteta described Vieira as Arsenal’s “most dangerous player” that night and said the 22-year-old deserved more opportunities in the final stages of the season.

“I’m really happy with him,” Arteta said. “I think he deserves more minutes than he’s had, especially in the last two months.

Fabio Vieira impressed for the Premier League leaders (Image: Getty)

“Of course he had a difficult start because he was injured for two months after an operation and he wasn’t at the level we wanted.

“But you saw tonight that he was probably our most dangerous player. He always made things happen. He’s a player I absolutely love.’

Arteta also praised Kiwior, who made his first Arsenal appearance since joining north London from Serie A club Spezia in January.

“I think he was good, it’s his first time playing so it was a different partnership,” Arteta said.

“With six team changes, this cohesion isn’t really there, and you can feel that especially in the first minutes of half-time.

“After that, I think the team just got better and better. Overall I think he played a good game.

Arsenal debutant Jakub Kiwior in action against Sporting Lisbon (Picture: Getty)

Assessing Arsenal’s overall performance, Arteta added: “We had phases in the game where we had a lot of control but we lacked a little bit of power in the last third because of course today we had to adapt with the players we didn’t have have available.

“I think we conceded two very bad goals where we need to do better and show a lot more determination in those moments to defend our box.

“At this level away, the draw puts it in a really difficult position but we managed to react. We had phases in the second half where we were much better.’

MORE : Mikel Arteta and William Saliba praise Jakub Kiwior for Arsenal debut

MORE: Martin Keown compares William Saliba to Arsenal legend Tony Adams

For more stories like this, visit our sports page.

Follow Metro Sport for the latest news Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *