Football pundit Andy Townsend has singled out Arsenal’s Sokratis as the club’s weak link at the back after suggesting that whoever takes full-time charge of the Gunners must prioritise improving the defence.
Arsenal’s defensive frailties were on display once again at the weekend as Norwich City secured a first-half lead that threatened to ruin Freddie Ljungberg’s debut as interim coach.
The Gunners were unable to complete a comeback to give the Swede a winning start, though despite the Greek defender not being involved – with the error-prone Shkodran Mustafi preferred in his place – it was the former Borussia Dortmund centre-back that was targeted for criticism by Townsend.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Townsend echoed the views of fellow panellist Chris Sutton by suggesting Ljungberg was not the right man to take Arsenal forward in the long term, before letting rip on the 31-year-old.
Townsend said (via BBC Sport): “Arsenal need someone to come in and teach them about defending.
“Calum Chambers has been around long enough to see if there’s been an improvement but there hasn’t been. I don’t think he’s good enough to be an Arsenal regular.
“Sokratis is nowhere near good enough. I don’t think he would get into any Premier League side.
“You will never stop Sokratis making mistakes. If you rely on him, you will be changing manager every six months.”
Townsend will likely be happy with Ljungberg’s initial stance on Sokratis, with the defender dropping to the bench for his first game in temporary control of the Gunners.
Sokratis has come under fire during his Arsenal career, with Gary Neville among his critics for his error against Spurs in September which led to Christian Eriksen’s opener at the Emirates Stadium.
Whether his omission from the team is to become the norm under Ljungberg – or indeed, the new manager – remains to be seen, though it could be argued that Ljungberg’s perceived faith in Mustafi (considering the German’s own track record for mistakes) could leave the Greek’s future at Arsenal in some doubt.
Although, the fact that Townsend also mentioned Chambers in his critique of the Gunners rearguard suggests that he is by no means the only problem facing Ljungberg and Arsenal at present.
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