Cedric Soares set for rare Arsenal start against Brighton but optimism over Takehiro Tomiyasu injury blow

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu is optimistic about being fit to represent Japan at this month’s World Cup, though Cedric Soares is in line to start against Brighton.

Tomiyasu suffered an injury scare last week when he limped off with a muscle issue against FC Zurich in the Europa League. Arsenal are continuing to assess the right-back, but the initial diagnosis is a promising one and it is hoped he will be able to play at the World Cup.

The Japanese FA continue to be in contact with the Gunners over his status. Japan’s coaching staff have travelled to Qatar this week in preparation for the World Cup and they are optimistic Tomiyasu will be joining them with the rest of the players next week. That will be a major boost to Japan with the 24-year-old a key part of his country’s defence.

Tomiyasu was unable to train with the Arsenal squad ahead of their match against Chelsea on Sunday, which they won 1-0, and he was due to be assessed again today ahead of tomorrow’s Carabao Cup match against Brighton.

It would appear unlikely that the right-back will be rushed back for that game, with manager Mikel Arteta due to make changes to his side. Tomiyasu’s absence could pave the way for Cedric Soares to make his first start of the season. Ben White’s move to right-back has made chances scarce for Cedric so far this year, but he remains determined to fight for his place in the Arsenal squad.