Just when the run-in couldn’t get any harder for Arsenal, they’ve now lost arguably their best defender this season.
Sokratis’ 25th-minute yellow card in Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Everton was the Greek defender’s 10th yellow card of the season, meaning the former Borussia Dortmund man now misses the Gunners next two Premier League games, two matches Unai Emery absolutely has to win.
Watford away and Crystal Palace at home are winnable games for the Gunners, but without Sokratis’ defensive quality and organisation the task of picking up six points from six has just got a lot harder, and fans could turn on the Greek international, who is valued at £18 million (by Transfermarkt), if Arsenal don’t get maximum points in the next two games.
Arsenal’s weekend loss has brought fans and players back down to the reality that qualification for the Champions League won’t be a walk in the park, and Sokratis’ suspension for the next two games will only make things more difficult for a side that have yet to keep a clean sheet on the road this season.
The problem doesn’t also stop at Sokratis being unavailable for two games, though. With Laurent Koscielny unavailable since mid-March and Rob Holding out until next season, meaning Emery might have to turn to Carl Jenkinson or Stephan Lichtsteiner for central defensive cover in the Greek’s absence.
Young defender Konstantinos Mavropanos will also likely miss out on first-team opportunities too with the 21-year-old yet to return to full fitness after a lengthy spell out on the side with injury.
Sokratis has been one of the best signings Emery brought in this summer, but his recklessness on the pitch might have cost him and the team an opportunity to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in three years, and if Arsenal fall to Watford and Palace, you can bet fans will point to the absence of the Greek defender for those missed opportunities.
Arsenal fans, who should fill in for Sokratis during his suspension? Let us know!