When Unai Emery made the move to fork out on Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos at Arsenal, a lot of fans believed that the Greek international was just a short-term option, and it’s easy to see why. However, the 30-year-old has shown just what he can do at The Emirates, and he may have forced his way into his club’s long-term plans.
Sokratis has been an absolute rock at the back for the Gunners. Over the last few seasons, the Gunners have come to be known as a side with a soft touch at the back and it’s clear to see why. The fans don’t like seeing their side concede easy goals, and that’s where Sokratis came in, to provide a quick solution to the problems they’ve suffered with, and so far he’s done a good job.
Having Sokratis will be a blessing for Unai Emery, especially seeing as he’s got both Rob Holding and Konstantinos Mavropanos who have had their injury problems. Holding will be out for at least the rest of the season and Mavropanos’s return date keeps being forced backwards, to the frustration of the fans. That’s left Sokratis as the only one who’s yet to suffer any kind of issue at the club this season.
Alongside Shkodran Mustafi, the Greek defender has shown his worth and the pair have formed a rigid partnership that has been hard to break down. The recent 22-match unbeaten streak that the Gunners embarked on may have come to an end at St Mary’s, but it would have been impossible to maintain without the Greek colossus at the back.
It was looking like Sokratis came in just to keep things in line until Laurent Koscielny returned, but after the Frenchman’s nightmare Premier League comeback last Sunday, the fans have been looking at Sokratis as the main man in their backline. He’s a couple of years younger than the club captain and has been in much better form, and now the fans want to see him stay a bit longer, even though he was only viewed a stopgap upon his arrival.