Cedric over Bellerin?
Arsenal signed the Portuguese international right back Cedric from Southampton in January of 2020 on loan until the end of the season. At the completion of the 2019/20 campaign his contract expired with the Saints and Arsenal moved to secure his services on a 4-year contract.
The full-back has not been a regular starter in the Arsenal senior squad for the league but has played a few games in European competition this season. Hector Bellerin has been Arsenal’s first choice right-back for a number of season since establishing himself as Bacary Sagna’s as long-term replacement after Mathieu Debuchy experienced a number of injury issues.
Cedric earned his first Premier League start of the season in the 3-0 win over Newcastle, keeping a clean sheet and setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for his second of the match.
*That close* 😬
Cedric keeps it in play and finds Aubameyang for his second of the game..
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It was very close to going out of play before Cedric could cross the ball but VAR deemed him to have done well to keep it in play. Could this mean that the 29-year-old has more of a future of starting?
Arteta explains Cedric decision
Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup match with Southampton, Arteta spoke about the work which Cedric has put in and that he is now being rewarded for that, even suggesting he has a chance to earn the spot for himself.
“Yes,” Arteta said when asked if Cedric could challenge Bellerin. “When he joined us he had various injuries and some difficult times, as you mentioned. It took him a little bit of time to adapt and get completely free and now earn the chances to play.”
“The best thing with Cedric is the way he takes his profession, the way he trains, the way he prepares himself. So every time that we had to use him, he was always ready and always fit to compete.”
“Even not playing for many parts of the season, when he had to play 120 minutes he was completely ready. The other night I think he had a really good game.”
LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Cedric Soares of Southampton is challenged by Danny Rose of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton FC at Wembley Stadium on December 5, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Arteta revealed that it has been Cedric’s desire and commitment in training which has led to his inclusion more so than simple rotation.
“When I see someone behaving like he has done and training like he has done, all the time trying to help but accepting my decision – which is tough for him – but at the end, challenging in a way where he is all the time competing in training and when he has the chance to play he does it well and all the time asking for reasons why he’s not playing and what he has to do better.”
“I just want to reward this kind of behaviour and player and Cedric has done that for sure.”
Cedric could be in line to start against his former club at the weekend as the Gunners face the Saints in back to back fixtures with a Premier League tie awaiting them on Tuesday again on the south coast.