The truth behind Cedric Soares’ absence as Mikel Arteta provides insight on Kieran Tierney decision

Mikel Arteta says he was forced to start Kieran Tierney in place of the injured Granit Xhaka against Villarreal.

The Arsenal boss had to make the decision before kick-off as Swiss midfielder Xhaka sustained a muscle injury in the warm-up.

Tierney, who had only taken part in a couple of training sessions after returning from injury himself, replaced Xhaka at left-back in the starting line-up.

However, understands that Cedric had a stomach bug, but fully recovered, trained and could have played against the Spanish side.

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“We had Cedric in hospital 24 hours ago and when Granit got injured that was the only alternative we had,” Arteta said in his post-match press conference.

When asked if the Portuguese defender’s condition had improved in the past day, Arteta replied:

“Yeah, he’s fine now”

Cedric has not played for the Gunners since an 11 minute cameo in the second leg of Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Slavia Prague last month.

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