Kieran Tierney’s Presence Not Missed
The biggest compliment that you can pay Cedric Soares, and it is a genuine one, is that Kieran Tierney’s absence wasn’t missed on Tuesday.
Don’t get me wrong, there were moments in the game where Arsenal’s attacking intent down the left wasn’t as potent as it could be given the 29-year-old’s obvious restrictions on that flank. Inverted wingers have various tactical nuances that make them effective on their opposite side whereas full-backs are crucial to providing balance and maintaining the speed of moves up the pitch.
However, Cedric was given a role brilliantly thought out by Arteta that saw him play diagonals all match. In not being forced to overlap and use his left foot to extent that Tierney would, Pepe’s interactions in front of him made the spaces on the opposing flank for Cedric to aim for. The third goal was an excellent example of this.
On occasions he and Hector Bellerin were beaten too easily in the first half. Neither he nor his teammate’s heads dropped, however, and the second half in particular he was superb. The best half of football he’s played at the club since joining.
He won’t take Tierney’s place (obviously), although his recent form will spark a debate over who deserves the right-back slot.