Ex-Arsenal star: Forget Tierney, Arteta has just the man to stop Raphinha & tear up Leeds

Mikel Arteta has the perfect Arsenal player in Kieran Tierney to stop Raphinha and tear up the vulnerable Leeds United defence.

But in the absence of the injured star, ex-Gunners star Kevin Campbell told Football Insider Mikel Arteta will instead turn to Cedric Soares to fill in at left-back.

Tierney has not featured since 18 January due to a fatigue-related leg injury and Arsenal revealed on Thursday he will be sidelined once again for Sunday’s meeting with Leeds.

Soares, a natural right-sided defender, has filled in at left-back for the last five matches but Arsenal fans were wary about not having their first-choice available to combat the threat of Leeds’ right-winger Raphinha, who is in electric form.

Campbell says having Tierney back would have been crucial in stopping Raphinha but Soares is an able deputy.

He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “Of course, you need Tierney to nullify Raphinha. But also he is so important for Arsenal because he provides that width down the left-hand side. That’s really important against a team like Leeds.

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“Obviously, Cedric has been a good stand-in. He plays on the opposite side, he’s not naturally left-footed but we know he can play on the left.

“When you’ve got a natural left-footer it opens up so many more opportunities for the attack.

“We know Kieran Tierney’s a good defender but so is Cedric. He’ll have to keep his eye on Raphinha because he’s doing really, really well but he is capable of nullifying him.”

Tierney joined Arsenal from Celtic in a £25million deal in August 2019 and has since endeared himself to Gunners fans with his tenacity and crossing ability.

The 16-time Scotland international has featured 47 times for Arsenal so far, scoring two goals and assisting a further seven.

In other news, a top pundit has said Arteta saw the blossoming Emiliano Martinez as a weak link when the goalkeeper was under his stewardship.