Since coming from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2018 for a fee in the region of £17.7m, Sokratis has attracted his inherently physical style of play to English football. A match made in heaven perhaps.
In his debut campaign in the Premier League whilst Unai Emery was in charge, the Greek averaged 1.6 tackles and 3.1 clearances a game — the kind of no-nonsense defending the Gunners might have found attractive. But his use of the ball has been far less impressive. The 6 foot 1 guy has experienced some high-profile mistakes when trying to match into his team’s style of wanting to play from the trunk, with this season’s howler against Watford fresh in mind.
And against Leeds on Monday night at the third round of the FA Cup, Mikel Arteta took the choice to play with him at right-back – no doubt with a single eye of napping Ainsley Maitland-Niles and trying to take care of a Hector Bellerin. Perhaps instead normally, Sokratis struggled with coping with a position that is alien in nature to him immensely.
He’s played that job just 27 days in his entire footballing career, whilst the final time he did so came from the 2015/2016 campaign whilst with Dortmund. Against Leeds, Sokratis lost possession a shocking 17 times over the course of the 90 minutes, as he looked ill at ease with trying to take the ball forward as a normal full-back is predicted to do.
Together with Arteta trying to knit a style of play close to the one he’s been subjected to Sokratis’ struggles with the ball at his feet is a major concern for the long-term future at the club of the Greek. He had only a pass accuracy of 75% on Monday and didn’t finish any of his four balls.
Anything you think of Sokratis, the doesn’t half give it his all. One especially iconic moment night found him entangled in a struggle down by the corner flag, which eventually drew a roar of approval from the Arsenal fans.
But away from the nitty-gritty, he appears to excel in, the Greek just does not seem to have the technical expertise on the chunk to be a fixture in the thinking of Arteta.