Mikel Arteta hints at Cedric Soares debut ahead of Arsenal vs Manchester City

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: Cedric Soares of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on January 31, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Cedric joined Arsenal from Southampton on a season-long loan (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has revealed that defender Cedric Soares could make his Arsenal debut against Manchester City on Wednesday night.

The Portuguese joined the Gunners on loan from Southampton in January, but is yet to make an appearance after struggling with a knee problem.

The 28-year-old returned to full training on Monday, and boss Arteta says that he is in contention to play against City.

When asked if defenders Cedric and Shkodran Mustafi could feature at the Etihad Stadium, he said: ‘I think they will be available to play.

‘Hopefully everyone will be able to train tomorrow and we’ll pick the best players we can.’

Cedric will be a welcome addition to the injury-ravaged Gunners defence, which has seen full-backs Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac all sidelined in recent weeks.

The Athletic revealed that Spaniard Bellerin has been taking painkillers to play through a groin injury, severely impacting his performances on the pitch.

Arteta admitted that 22-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles needs to ‘work hard’ to get back in the team, prompting Greek defender Sokratis to fill in at right-back.

The former Manchester City coach faces his old side for the first time as a manager, and is expecting it to be ‘a very special night’.

On his experience at the club giving the Gunners an advantage, the 37-year-old added: ‘It gives me a very clear idea of what they are trying to do, what they will be looking to do.

‘But it’s something different to be able to stop that and as well create the issues that I think we can create for them.’

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