Mikel Arteta accepts blame after Arsenal star forces Kai Havertz snub ahead of PSV clash
Mikel Arteta will be forced into rotating his squad as Arsenal head into a busy run of fixtures following the international break - especially after injuries to Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey
Mikel Arteta has taken the blame for Fabio Vieira's lack of minutes for Arsenal so far this season. The Portuguese playmaker was handed his first start for the Gunners this term in the 1-0 win against Everton on Sunday.
Vieira has impressed this season after registering two assists in cameo roles coming on as a substitute against Fulham and Manchester United. Speaking after the 3-1 win against Manchester United, Arteta admitted players in his squad can still impress him despite starting Kai Havertz ahead of the 23-year-old.
The Arsenal boss said: "Every player has a chance to do that, today we decided to start with Kai [Havertz]. We knew that Fabio [Vieira] would have a big impact especially in the last few minutes, or final minutes if we needed something and something has changed with Fabio.
"You notice with the crowd when he steps in he is different to how he was last year, he’s more mature, he’s more senior in the squad and his confidence in the squad is high. I’m really happy to have those options."
Havertz is yet to register a single goal contribution for Arsenal after completing a £65million move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer - and the German was benched against Everton with Vieira forcing Arteta to start him ahead of the 24-year-old. Many fans felt that Havertz would start against the Toffees due to his superior height and physicality - but Vieira held his own and impressed Arteta with his performance at Goodison Park.
Speaking ahead of Arsenal's clash against PSV in the Champions League on Wednesday night - the Gunners boss took full blame for Vieira's lack of minutes so far this season. "That was my fault, I said that many times, I haven't played him enough," Arteta said.
"He hasn't had enough room in the team with the competitions that we play to participate more, but we see every day the talent he has got and what he can bring to the team. I was really happy with his performance at the weekend."
With the Champions League group stages starting this week, Arsenal are set for a busy run of fixtures ahead of the October international break. This will give Vieira more chances to start for the Gunners and if he can continue to perform well, it may leave Arteta with a slight headache regarding how he can get the best out of Havertz moving forward after his big money move from Chelsea.
Arsenal have returned to the Champions League after a six year absence - and confidence is high Mikel Arteta’s men can make a genuine run to the final at Wembley.
Our special preview of the Gunners’ 2023/24 Champions League campaign provides the ultimate guide to the tournament.
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