Sokratis or Sokrightis: Will He Play Right Back Again?
Sokratis Papastathopoulos played as an auxiliary right back in the Arsenal vs. Leeds FA Cup Third Round clash on Monday.
This took everyone by surprise because we saw Reiss Nelson’s name on the team sheets as a right wing back, but the English forward played on the left wing till Gabriel Martinelli replaced him in the second half.
Playing Sokratis in that position meant that he would lock horns with the much younger Ezgdan Alioski (27) that is in good form for Leeds United this season. Alioski is an attacking forward that cuts in, with most of his goals coming from that flank but there was also the threat of the Leed’s left back, Barry Douglas, known for his marauding runs on the left as well as having a wand of a left foot.
With Nicolas Pepe not providing enough protection, Sokratis had his work cut out for him and it is fair to say that he performed as expected from an experienced hand notified to do a job in an unfamiliar position. Sometimes, you need to check out the stats (via Arseblog News) to get the true picture of a player’s performance on the night.
SOKRATIS STATS AGAINST LEEDS UNITED
3 – Aerial Duels won
4 – Ball recoveries
1 – Interception
1 – Blocked Pass
2 – Tackles
4 – Clearances
2 – Successful dribbles (who knew he had it in him!)
3 – Dispossessed (not a right back red flag)
1 – Deep completion (passes within 25 yards of goal)
8 – Throw in’s completed (of 12 attempts)
I want to assume that Mikel Arteta asked Sokratis to audition as a right back because he has some plans to play him in that position this Saturday against a certain Wilfried Zaha.
I am sure that the gaffer has some trust for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but the Englishman has some games (especially away) when he struggles. First of all, he is not a defender, and he will never be. We cannot trust Hector Bellerin to stay fit, so someone has to go do the job there.
Arsenal should be in the transfer market this summer for a new right back. Stephan Lichtsteiner came around for a while but the pace of the Premier League was too much for him. We were linked with PSG’s Thomas Meunier last summer, and I hope we rekindle those links.
With Rob Holding returning to full fitness and needing some games, as well as Arsenal still keeping tabs on the Jerome Boateng situation, I am in alignment with Sokratis getting this run out on the right. My best moment watching the Greek defender in that position was when he celebrated his own goal saving tackle that deflected a shot for a corner kick.
Sokratis’ performances, like many others in the team has improved, following the introduction of Mikel Arteta to the team and we hope that these run of inspiring displays continue.
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