Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has tried to keep all of his players happy by offering fringe players game time as he continues to rotate his squad throughout a busy fixture schedule.
The Gunners have lost just one game in all competitions this term and have already qualified for the Europa League knockout rounds after winning all four of their group stage fixtures so far. Whilst there remains a core group of players that are likely to start every game, Arteta has been open to giving players a chance if they impress when rotated into the starting lineup.
Ben White has been able to maintain his position at right-back after being moved out to a wider role by the Spaniard at the start of the season following the return of William Saliba. The French defender has nailed down a place alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, who recently signed a new long-term contract, after impressing this season, but the adjustment has left one Arsenal star out in the cold.
Cedric Soares is yet to play a single minute of football so far this season and has expressed his disappointment with the lack of game time under Arteta. The Portuguese defender said: “Of course I am disappointed that I have not played yet this season.”
He told the PA news agency: “I believe since I arrived at Arsenal I have been giving positive answers on the pitch every time I had the chance to play. I have been working hard every day, as this is the only way I know to get where you want to be.”
Cedric made 55 appearances across all competitions in his first two and a half years at the Emirates Stadium but has fallen behind White and Takehiro Tomiyasu in Arteta’s pecking order at right-back. Cedric added: “Of course I want to play and I want to help the team to win and achieve its goals and I will grab the opportunity when I get it.
“I feel I am in great shape and I am always 100 per cent ready to help the team.”
Speaking after the 1-0 win against PSV Eindhoven which secured qualification for the Europa League knockout rounds, Arteta admitted the Portuguese defender “deserves” more minutes for his team after he returned from an injury. The Arsenal boss said: “The competition is one thing, the second one is because he was injured for a while.
“He had a recurring injury but now he is fully fit and he’s a player that deserves to play. I want to give him the minutes because he deserves it.”