Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts has said that Fabio Vieira has looked ‘really, really off it’ in recent weeks.
The midfielder was handed his eighth start of the campaign as he got a taste of the Carabao Cup for the first time on Wednesday night.
However, he was replaced on 72 minutes after the Gunners found themselves 3-1 down against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Portuguese ace had originally seemed to have settled in very quickly in north London after netting in two of his first three starts, but Watts feels he has gone off the boil of late.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said:
“I think it’s quite an interesting one, because he started well, we’ve seen that, he’s looked bright, he looked lively in games, scored a couple of goals, always a threat, but just in the last month or so, he’s just looked really, really off it.
“I thought he was awful yesterday, he did not put a foot right, really, in the game.
“And that is going to be a concern to Mikel Arteta, because you want Fabio Vieira to be stepping up and really putting pressure on the likes of Martin Odegaard and Granit Xhaka to push him for a Premier League spot.
“You need that competition, and if he’s not providing that, then the other players are just feeling very comfortable in their position.
“And in the long term, that’s not going to be a good thing.”
TIF Thoughts on Watts’ comments…
Have you been impressed by Vieira?
No, not seen enough yet!
Having largely been resigned to the second string and cup competitions, Vieira is actually Mikel Arteta’s third-best performing player in the Europa League with a 6.96 average match rating (as per WhoScored).
However, his first appearance in the Carabao Cup didn’t exactly go to plan, with only Eddie Nketiah (34) recording fewer touches than the summer signing (43) among Arsenal’s outfielders on Wednesday night.
He lost possession nine times before being replaced by Gabriel Jesus as the north Londoners chased the game.
However, it is still early days in the 22-year-old’s career in the capital, and we feel he has shown enough to suggest that he can be a success at the club in the long run.