Mesut Ozil’s return to first team action has been welcomed by Sokratis who insists the German remains very important to Arsenal.
While injury and illness have played a part, the midfielder’s lack of game time since the turn of the year has led to speculation that his days at the Emirates could be numbered.
True or not, the 30-year-old did play the full 90 minutes of last night’s 3-0 win over BATE Borisov, delivering a tidy performance that ended with an 89% pass completion rate, including 51 successful passes in the final third.
The playmaker’s contribution caught the eye of Sokratis, who came off the bench in the second half to head home his side’s third goal
“He played very good,” he said after the game. “Mesut is a fantastic player and when he is fit he is one of the most important players in the team. Of course when something is not going good, everybody is there to criticise but we have to see also what Mesut did in the last years for this team.
“All the team, all the players are behind him and we need a good Mesut to go (forward) because we know that he is very important for us.”
Sokratis also made clear that while his teammate may have been in and out of Emery’s matchday squads, he has continued to enjoy life at Arsenal.
“He was sick, he had some problems but after he came back for training,” explained the Greek.
“Now, he is good. He did well and I hope in the next games he will go forward like this. He enjoys (himself) and we enjoy that he is with us.
“But when you are injured, it is difficult. Mesut is very important, he is a very good guy and we need him.”
Arsenal’s reward for a 3-1 aggregate victory against the Belarussian is a last-16 draw with French side Rennes. Having initially been drawn at home in the first leg, it’s since been confirmed that we’ll start away.