Arsenal have the advantage in the race for the top four after beating Manchester United on Saturday, but Tony Adams thinks the return of an injured star is almost as important as victory
Former Arsenal defender Tony Adams has revealed Cedric Soares is ‘scaring his life’ despite the full-back playing 151 Premier League games.
The Gunners beat Manchester United 3-1 on Saturday afternoon and regained the lead in the hunt for the coveted fourth spot in the table after north London rivals Tottenham drew 0-0 with Brentford more late in the day. Goals from Nuno Tavares, Bukayo Saka and Granit Xhaka saw Arsenal crush United’s hopes of playing Champions League football next season.
Mikel Arteta’s side were strong in every department and looked comfortable everywhere, even when out of possession when United pushed for an equalizer at 2-1. However, Adams believes Takehiro Tomiyasu’s return comes at a vital time for the Gunners as he doesn’t trust Cedrid, who Arteta signed from Southampton in 2020.
Speaking to Premier League Productions, the former Gunners captain said: “‘It could be a North London shootout now. Spurs have kept Liverpool and Arsenal away ahead, these will be the two crucial games I think in the race for the top four.
“It was a great comeback for Arsenal after those three losses. We also had a few injuries. Tomi (Tomiyasu) came back at the very end which is great because I’m still scared for Cedric. He scares me, so good to see Tomi back in action.
“If we can get it back and get solid defensively, I think we have fourth place.” Tomiyasu has been out since late January, their last game against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, but came on as a 90th-minute substitute for Cedric and played a few minutes of football – his main impact being drawing a foul from Cristiano Ronaldo late on. whereupon the striker received a yellow card.
But before his injury, the Japanese defender had impressed at the Emirates Stadium and his willingness to be present at both ends of the pitch had proved a real asset to Arteta. Also, with Ben White being a more forward-thinking centre-back, Tomiyasu’s availability means the former Brighton defender can start pushing those runs again.
Cedric Soares filled Tomiyasu well at times, although he failed to hit the target on other occasions and sometimes forced Arteta to have a tactical rejig. White has occasionally been deployed as a right-back instead, and when Cedric has started he is often one of the stars to make way for a second-half substitute.
Arteta was full of praise for his full-time squad at the Emirates Stadium, especially given how important the game was to their season as a whole. The Spaniard said: “A big performance in a game, I think, had everything. Moments where we showed real quality, a game where we had to suffer, a game where there were times when we were a bit lost and lacking in energy, a game where we were really efficient in the squares, a game where we were lucky when we needed this. Overall, I’m extremely happy.”