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‘Enormous Talent’: Arsenal Have a Secret Weapon in the Season’s Title Race, And It’s Not Jurrien Timber

Arsenal players forming a huddle ahead of their Premier League clash against Chelsea

After a prolonged absence, Arsenal finally have Fabio Vieira available again for selection. The midfielder possesses the technical qualities which could help push the team over the line in what is lining up to be an exciting Premier League title race.

Vieira Could Prove to Be Arsenal’s Secret Weapon in This Title Race

Back in Contention

The last time fans saw Vieira on the pitch in an Arsenal shirt was back in November of 2023. In a 3-1 victory for the Gunners, the Portuguese man was sent off late in the 83rd minute for a bad foul. Unfortunately for him, he was then side-lined due to surgery on a groin problem, which kept him out of action. 

Mikel Arteta has spoken highly of the midfielder, describing him as an “enormous talent” and that he hopes to “get the best out of him” for the future. Now back in contention, he could be the secret weapon to help Arsenal finish the season on a high. He played the whole second half last time out in the 6-0 thrashing of Sheffield United. As a substitute for Bukayo Saka, the former Porto midfielder filled in on the right wing and it seemed the groin surgery brought him a new burst of pace which fans were particularly pleased to see.

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Not only that; but in his short cameo, he showed signs of his technical prowess, vision, and passing accuracy. Vieira possesses the ability to create opportunities from nothing with the swipe of his foot. This is the kind of player that can come off the bench and potentially turn a game around – in fact that is exactly what he did earlier this campaign.

When Arsenal were a goal down to Fulham at home, Vieira came on as a substitute and was involved in both of his team’s two quickfire goals (winning the penalty and assisting the other).  Considering that this season’s title race will likely go down to the wire, this is the kind of player that could be key in Arsenal’s run-in. In total, he has a goal and two assists in the league, despite only playing 238 minutes before the Sheffield match (approximately 2.6 full matches).

Potential Roles and Positions

The 23-year-old offers great versatility in his game, and given the way his side have set up generally this season, there’s a range of different roles he could play. As a midfielder, his technical ability and front-footed chance creation could complement the captain, Martin Odegaard, who has been playing a deeper conducting role this term. Arteta implemented this partnership last year, though Granit Xhaka was often the preferred option to partner the Norweigan due to his physical qualities. With the addition of Declan Rice and Kai Havertz though, and the improved out-of-possession structure imposed by the manager, we could see this partnership work better.

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Additionally, Vieira played on the right wing in his 45 minutes at Bramall Lane; he also played a similar right-sided role at his previous club, FC Porto. Fans could see more of this, as Arteta attempts to manage Saka’s fitness ahead of the tail-end of the campaign.

But with such fantastic form in the new year, it’ll be surprising to see many changes in the starting line-up for Arsenal unless necessary. Vieira’s best chance for minutes will be through off-the-bench cameos like against Sheffield United. Although given his skillset, he is a high-impact player capable of delivering key moments which means these substitute appearances could still see him contributing to his team.


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