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Arsenal Season Recap: Cedric Soares

It’s never a good thing when your backup plays starter minutes, which is what Cedric did at Arsenal this season.

Arsenal Pre-Season Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Cedric Soares played more this season for Arsenal than anybody, including Mikel Arteta, probably wanted to see. He was signed to be a backup, and this season he played starter / rotational option minutes. He’s under contract through the end of the 2023-24 season.

Season Summary: Cedric started 16 matches in the Premier League this season, with substitute appearances in 5 more. He added 5 appearances in cup competitions for the Gunners. He played the bulk of his matches down the stretch, filling in for the injured Takehiro Tomiyasu.

There’s not much to say about his season, honestly. The less said the better, really. He was alright. He had some surprisingly solid games and some not so good performances. He has a tendency to aimlessly fire balls into the box, but he gets into the attack, which is good. He’s fine defensively, too. He gets beat occasionally, but is usually able to use his pace to recover from the mistake.

Season Grade: D

Cedric is the posterchild for average. There’s something to be said for knowing what you’re going to get out of a guy, which in Cedric’s case is somewhere between a 4 and 6 out of 10 performance pretty much every time he plays. But average isn’t good enough for Arsenal, especially when forced into using an average player for months at a time as opposed to as a spot replacement.

It’s not easy to be a backup. You’re expected to be ready to go, sometimes at a moment’s notice, and you’re always going to be judged against the guy for whom you’re stepping in. I think Cedric is an alright footballer. He’s an acceptable Premier League backup.

Part of me feels as if that grade is a bit harsh, after all it’s not his fault that he played significant minutes this season. But Cedric just isn’t good enough to play the role he played for Arsenal this season given the club’s aspirations.

‘22-’23 Outlook: The less that Cedric has to play this coming season the better. He wasn’t ever meant to feature regularly at Arsenal. He was signed to be a backup, and he’s mostly fine for that role. Right now, I expect him to start the Europa League group stage matches to give Takehiro Tomiyasu a rest, which is fine. Cedric should be more than sufficient in that level of match.

Hopefully the Arsenal defense stays healthy and that’s all we see of Cedric next season. Even if Arsenal were to bring in another right back (which I think is low on the club’s priority list), I wouldn’t have an issue with Cedric sticking around. He’s fine in spot appearances. Put it this way: if Cedric has to play a bunch next season, Arsenal will have bigger problems than Cedric racking up minutes.