Sokratis: We’re not stupid…we know we were bad

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Sokratis may have bagged a goal last night but his overall performance, like that of all his teammates, was well below-par as Arsenal fell to a damaging 3-1 defeat at Wolves. 

Back from a two-game suspension, the Greek international struggled all game to cope with the pace and movement of the home side’s attackers and looked particularly culpable when he pulled out of a challenge on Diogo Jota as the Portuguese netted the third goal in first-half stoppage time.

It was a bad night. And the centre-back knows it. After the game, he made clear he wouldn’t make excuses before laying down the gauntlet to Unai Emery’s squad to secure three wins from the three remaining Premier League challenges.

“It’s not time to find excuses,” he told Arsenal.com. “We have to look at the next three games where we need to win all three to get nine points. We’ll see if we can be in the top four. I trust my team 100 per cent, all of the players. I think we can do it.

“There’s not a bad mentality – we won two away games in the last 10 days. [But] we all take responsibility. We’re not stupid and we know that we didn’t play well. We now have three chances and we have to win all the games.

“Of course [we get angry]. The players want to play in the Champions League, we like winning and we want to be there. It’s not easy. Today was a bad moment for us. We cannot change it now because the game is finished, so now we look towards the next game.

“It’s a difficult game. We know that now the chance could go, so we have to take the three points in all three games. I hope that we win on Sunday.”

While our fate is currently out of our own hands, we could regain control of our destiny by the end of Sunday.

If we can avoid defeat at Leicester (LOL) and Manchester United beat Chelsea later in the afternoon, we’ll climb to fourth place again either level on points with Blues and with a better goal difference or two points clear of both.

It’s amazing how many chances we keep getting to cock things up.

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Dial square
Dial square

Well fucking sort it out them, bang some heads together ffs

myrtle
myrtle

Papa, don’t preach

HulahoopsBaptista
HulahoopsBaptista

You win the internet for today.

C.B.
C.B.

Not stupid off the pitch, plenty of stupidity on it in the last two PL matches (and more in the previous PL match, but fortunately that was from Deeney).

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

We won our previous two away games, true. But a bit of context please Papa. The first we struggled for 80 mins against 10 men Watford. The second Napoli pretty much gave up after a slightly flukey goal from Lacca. The problem still exists. Let’s not pretend this was just one of those nights.

Alex
Alex

No, no, Papa, the fans are much clever than you, they know better, they would fight more, they love more the club than you, they care more… They have never had the training you had to become a professional football player but, problem, they behave as if they had. In matter of football, strategy, skills… I’ll always trust you, guys, and not Arsenal fan TV and consorts.
I wouldn’t like you to come to my office to tell me how i have to work and that i don’t deserve my wages.

Owl faced Deeney's cojones
Owl faced Deeney's cojones

Alex, when it comes to matters concerning Ozil, you criticize Emery, his tactics even other players to prove they are lower quality players. Can you apply these principles to yourself first ?

James Lee
James Lee

I think maybe its best if Sokratis threatens to eat the rest of the playing staff if they dont buck their ideas up, im sure we will see results then

Ozil Gummidge
Ozil Gummidge

Same script, different season.

Gooneron
Gooneron

Different characters

Amusa
Amusa

If we had more players with the mentality of Papa. We would be a much better team.
We have too many players pulling out of challenges.
Pained me to see Özil, Mikhi and Iwobi all pulling out of several challenges yesterday.
Fucking abmysal. At least have a good go at 4th place.
Can’t believe this team is outfought by teams like wolves.
Let Emery bring his own players in, at least we’ll be fucking up for the physical battles.

Santori
Santori

We need more than mentality alone.

There are many issues to be fixed.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

If Denis Suarez is an indicator of the types of player Emery likes then I wouldn’t count on it.

Chrispy
Chrispy

Many things I could say but can’t still, after that shit show, think of anything more eloquent than ‘cunts’.

edzo
edzo

Everyone wants to find reasons as to why we continue to be average. Pretty simple. Too many average players.

Maybe 2 or 3 would play for Liverpool or Man City. The others are mid table at best.

Therefore, we are an average team owned by an owner who refuses to buy 11 world class players.

Ozil Gummidge
Ozil Gummidge

Absolutely nailed it. We will continue to churn out shit like this whilst that toupee-wearing mustachioed cunt continues to sit on his cheque book.

Stephen
Stephen

Disagree. Checkbook has been used on Auba, Laca, Ozil. Even Mustafi was an expensive defender at the time. Remember when we spent £50m+ on him and Lucas Perez. Money just isn’t the problem.

Anders B
Anders B

Seems to be a lot down to the defense. City and Liverpools are brilliant, ours are aging or not defensively minded, I’ve enjoyed watching Sead bomb down the left flank but when we play 3 at the back we have been terrible. Our centre backs aren’t even close to the level of citypool. At this point I would be happy if we spend £100m on a top class defence and went back to churning out 1nils.

Magero Andrew
Magero Andrew

Very right many of these players except for Ramsey are mere jokers whose interest is just to play but not to win

JAL
JAL

Name me the 3 players that get into a top side please?

Anonymarse
Anonymarse

I think quite a few of our players could get in the squads, not sure about the first teams. Ozil, Laca, Auba, Kos, Torreira, Ramsey for example are all there or thereabouts.

It depends on form (and probably fatigue). Earlier in the season when he was running rampant Auba looked a top player, so did Laca. Both scored some great goals. Not so much at the moment.

If we had a better squad I think that would help. More / better defenders obviously would help.

Bob's Mexican Cousin
Bob's Mexican Cousin

No, any proposal will stir negative and fruitless debate when we need to get behind the team.

Mpls
Mpls

Unfortunately having been around these parts for a while I have to say: good luck with that.

GunnerMzalendo
GunnerMzalendo

Who would play for City?Zero!

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Bit of an odd argument there. Their squad cost about a half a billion quid, so why wouldn’t their players be better than ours?

CorporateMan
CorporateMan

You are not stupid? Says only you. Everyone else knows you are! You’ve had one horrible game after another, and yet you and your clueless coaches did nothing to fix it. If that’s not stupidity then what is?

Maul Person
Maul Person

So you have never expected to do well at something, done the prep, but come up short? And you’ve never had this happen several times? If you have, shut up! I’m as annoyed as anyone else but going off name-calling isn’t helpful.

Yorkshire Gunner
Yorkshire Gunner

In fairness he lingered longest after applauding the away fans and looked gutted.

Gooneron
Gooneron

In Fairness too, have you ever seen him smile?

Antony Adler
Antony Adler

kroenke out. Nothing will ever change until we get someone at the top who CARES !

Santori
Santori

The go to blame when Mustafi is not around to pin a defeat on.

I am pascal cygan
I am pascal cygan

Come on santori surely after the wolves game you would have change your mind a little bit. The guy is not good enough to play for arsenal. I dont even hate him but I do not want to see him play again next season.

Sagebrush Farm
Sagebrush Farm

Nailed it

Jack
Jack

Notice that Emery didn’t want to give anything away at the press conference but Wolves still had as sussed out from every single angle?

Bring back David Hillier

Can we blame Mustafi?

Actions speak louder than words Papa.

Santori
Santori

Yes, David Hillier loves to criticise Mustafi. Not sure he can find the words to describe the defending last match.:D

Bring back David Hillier

Because mustafi is a liability.

drew
drew

Can’t we get Mendez to do some sort of dodgy deal with our club so we can get all these wicked players for a quarter of the price like Wolves have done?

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

Don’t you just love the way everyone acts like Wolves are like some kind of fairytale story about a well-run plucky underdog, rather than the next club on the conveyor-belt of sugar-daddy clubs buying their way to success? (And in their case, they’re doing it on the back of Jorge Mendes’ dodgy deals.)

HansRott
HansRott

Seems like we have a few ways we can lose a game.

Making defensive mistakes is one.
Coming across a very talented, quick, motivated side playing at home is another.

Fuck knows what’s going to happen over the next three Premier League games.

GoonerBill
GoonerBill

imagine the score if Mustafi was playing *faints*

Santori
Santori

The score won’t be any worse.

Mustafi hasn’t been culpable for any large defeats.

In fact he has been in the team several times when on rare occassion we have kept clean sheets.

He certainly was not in the squad (or peripheral at best) against BHA, Soton(away), West Ham, and Liverpool in which we slumped to poor defeats.

In those games, Torreira conspired to lose the ball, or was robbed of the ball or made a poor clearance 6 or 7 times 4 of which led directly to goals against us.

No need to faint.

Adrian
Adrian

Man you copy paste same thing again and again about Torreira. I think most of us are tired now.

Fireman Sam
Fireman Sam

Mustafi is very bad. End of story.

Mother
Mother

Santori, you can repeat your baseless argument all you want but a handful of clean sheets and Torreira losing the ball a few times doesn’t negate the fact that Mustafi is a poor defender with lousy awareness and awful concentration.

BuckNasty
BuckNasty

Hurts me to say but I feel Brenda and Leicester will definitely turn us over unfortunately

Santori
Santori

Unless we can tweak some weaknesses have come to the fore tactically.

Back 3 still best option both offensive-wise (Releasing Kolasinac either with Iwobi or Auba) plus blatantly Koscielny-Sokratis pairing not the vaunted combination some people who prefer to blame Mustafi would deem to imagine.

ArseMacgee
ArseMacgee

Bah!

Zadok
Zadok

“I know that I know nothing.” (plato account’s of socrates) no comment.

Santori
Santori

Elephant in the room some people prefer to conveniently ignore.

We are still shite at defending without Mustafi.

Had Mustafi been so flat for the third Wolve’s goal, there would be no end to people baying for him to be sold.

Nor has our defending of set pieces gotten better.

The second goal was very reminiscent of the same issues we had with the third Palace goal.

I mentioned it was not simply a case of Mustafi making a mistake but a systemic issue

Sokratis was late coming off the line (as was Jenkinson for the first Palace goal) as we yet again attempted to play Wolves offside. Instead we got caught out.

Whether Leno could have got out quicker to close down the (good) cross into Doherty is moot.

Our risk assessment is poor and the policy of playing for an offside not a good one.

Its bears example also in the fact yet again, Torreira has had his height exposed.

For the third Palace goal, it befuddled me that we had Torreira attacking the first ball in from the corner. For the Wolve’s opening goal, we had Torreira providing open space above his head for Neves to slot the ball home from the free kick.

Surely we can find someone slightly taller?

These little details make a difference in the match.

Its only a surprise to those who prefer to imagine Mustafi as erratic and the problem that we are STILL having issues defensively.

Pakgooner
Pakgooner

You have to stop this obsession Santori it’ll eat you alive

Mother
Mother

And we should’ve bought Mahrez, right?

Ricky
Ricky

Mustafi is not a liability…

Torreira is not good and cost us all these points, but mustafi hasn’t cost us points…

We should have bought Mahrez even though we didn’t have the money…

Mislintat is the root of all our problems…

Santori’s spot on analysis day after day after day with no end in sight.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight

I still don’t understand why we didn’t buy Javier Pastore and play him in central midfield.

Captain Khan
Captain Khan

Nothing will change because the club will keep making money as long as we’re mediocre at best. Stadium will sell out due to season ticket holders and tourists buying the remaining seats. Jerseys and merchandise etc will continue to make money. Silent Stan will not invest as the business model is ideal to him, low investment with a satisfactory gain for him.
We will continue being a mediocre team.

Peter Story Teller
Peter Story Teller

Exactly! AFC is now an investment vehicle. Kronke will only start to care when we get so bad that we get relegated, the stadium is no longer full for home games and nobody wants to buy the replica kits!
Then will he subsidise the transfer budget? Doubt it! He will probably sell the club to some other millionaire and we will spend the next 15 to 20 seasons trying to get back to where we once were.
When I was a season ticket holder the other top club was Leeds United. I now know how their fans feel!

BigToks
BigToks

Since Sp*rs have “St Totteringham’s Day”, then Arsenal have….?
This SHIT is getting ridiculous!!!

Doghouse

the moment Ramsey went down was the moment I came to my senses, spurs will again be above us, chelsea will nick 4th we will probably finish 6th, out we go v Valencia we are a shambles. We have no drive going forward from midfield which brings me back to Ramsey the only player to be able to hold his head high this season, our midfield? Xhaka ?overated average, Torriera ? didn’t take long for other managers to nullify his influence, Gendousi hairy side passing show pony, Elneny ? ditto, Miki ? doesn’t want it, Ozil ? how can we get rid of this man, he doesn’t belong in this league, I could go on and I haven’t even touched on our defence.. look there has been games when we have looked good and yes Bellerin & Holding injuries have been to our detriment but watching us at the moment is like a mild toothache when you think its not so bad until you realise you need it removed, another painful season for us..

Santori
Santori

We are not far away from competing but a million miles away.

Unai is punching slightly above the weight of this squad.

Several issues plague us. There is no one fault that is all encompassing.

1) The squad has its limits. This is beyond Mustafi. We still carry legacy deadweights that are arguably even less productive than the German. The likes of Jenkinson and Elneny inexplicably lauded by some for whatever sentiment for a start.

This added to usual injury plague has meant quality falls off a cliff where depth is concern.

BUT we have also yet to address short fall in capabilities in several key areas :

a) RWIng. Everything productive comes from the left side. It is too easy to stay compact and shut us down. The Rwing has been OVERLY dependent on Bellerin for a while now (arguably since Alexis era when the young Spaniard was just in development)

We failed to address the situation adequately for Wenger last January when Mahrez came on market. Instead, we have brought in low hanging fruit in Mhkitaryan to convenience of someone’s ex Dortmund contacts.

b) CBack – Sokratis has been decent but still not the quality we really need. Koscielny is (has been) on his last legs for a while now and durability is an issue. Mustafi for all the criticism has been no where as bad as many prefer to imagine but clearly isn’t first choice material either. Mavropanos is in development and is quality only in the eyes of the same simplistic people who think Elneny or Jenkinson are great options.

The one bright spark this season Holding is injured. Chambers was inexplicably loaned out (to Fulham). Jury is still out on him on account of Fulham’s wretched defending but he would have been a better option to have compete for a right sided back 3 spot at very least not to mention a better option than Jenkinson to rotate at Rback (his natural position for Soton back in the day) and he could have also been in limited use covering in midfield.

We have yet to address Cback to say the least. Come the summer, we may only be able to bring (if any) one in which will likely (should) be replacement for Koscielny. What quality we bring in is the question. Sokratis was a stop gap no more.

c) Midfield – Again many prefer to build in their own minds the dimunitive Torreira up to mythical proportions. Santi Carzola he is not.

Already, teams are beginning to take advantage of his lack of height.

More so, we have yet to replace the sort of control we had with Viera, Santi (or more sporadically even) Diaby.

We lack a player who can control and be compose on the ball and carry it up the vertical. Guendouzi shows some promise but is a young player still. He isn’t in the league in terms of ball control as those mentioned.

The combine lack of players who can beat defenders one on one mean we end up having to pass through the lines.

When we come up against a team as discipline and well drilled as Wolves that are adept at constricting the passing channels and suffocation tactics, we end up passing sideways or backwards.

2) Tactics – For the most part Unai has been excellent and tweaked his tactics well, got the extra ounce out of the squad, made critical changes (unlike Wenger) in a timely fashion with impact to the game.

BUT he isn’t going to get it right all the time and as mentioned, the limits of the squad combine with availability of players will come into play against him.

a) Formation – Against Wolves, he may not have been correct to try and play the back 4.

This is a team very efficient on the transition into the counter and their -3-5-2 meant they very quickly overloaded us once possession had been overturned in their favour.

They both had men in numbers to swamp us (at one point it was 4 versus 3) and always had the width against our back 4 with two players one each flank on the overload against our fullbacks.

I felt Unai also did not get the best out of our stronger left side with Iwobi because we did not have Kolasinac in tandem with him enough.

The issue with back 4 is also evident at Palace.

Mustafi was decent enough in back 3 first half. We still leaked a goal (courtesy mostly of Jenkinson) and we still had problems systemically and in decision making but we held OK.

When we switched to back 4 second half Mustafi self destructed but also the added security that was around him nominally evaporated.

BUT it isn’t as I have been consistently saying a Mustafi problem. Same problems cropped up Against Wolves with a aback 4 and the much vaunted (by some) pairing of Sokratis-Koscielny. Arguably we were even worse.

We don’t have the capacity for a back 4 at the moment and it does not play to our strengths on the left fully.

But for the most part Emery has managed to cajole the squad beyond its limit and coax performances out of them.

b) Details – Other tactical issues still work in progress and yet to be solved could include our defnding of set pieces. This is ongoing evolution. We seem to have solved it and become more tight with our set pieces but in last couple of games, the opponents have found a way to breach and take advantage of us trying to play the offside trap with crosses coming in.

Witness similar issue against Wolves with Sokratis playing the second goal on side (Doherty’s header) as with the third goal against Palace where Mustafi moved up to catch and offside.

Nor have we been wise in practical terms with man marking. Torreira was left to contest for the first ball in from a corner for the third Palace goal as he was to provide open acres above his head in the wall for the Neve’s goal against Wolves. Surely we could find someone taller for both those instances, put Torreira somewhere on the line by the goal instead.

c) Transitions – Again it has taken some time for the team to adapt to Emery’s desire for them to play out from the back through ground.

This is a higher percentage game of course than lobbing it forward from goal and we lack Giroud or indeed Sagna in days past to hold the ball up or head it forward (accurately) as outlets.

BUT our transitions have become a means to themselves and we are terribly ponderous.

Contrast to teams with more limited ability like Wolves who know they need to take their chances and transition quickly, we are both unable to take advantage of players like Granit with quick release and good passing in range (Indeed even Mustafi because we are slave to the need to work it out from the back.

A more nuanced approach is necessary with occasional need to mix it up with quick distribution from deeper. This has been done by Leno in the past.

BUT the poor movement by players further up the pitch holding static line and their own inability to hold the ball up (Auba is awful as Ozil, Laca has improved but has height limitations…as I consistently mentioned, Giroud was selected ahead of him for France for a reason) means we lack complete recourse to this option.

Combine with a lack of players that can carry the ball and engage independently (remember the days Pires and Henry can beat their own man or two for pace and skill on a break) and Unai is working with well, what he has on hand to the best of his ability.

Tactics can only coax so much out of the limits of a squad.

d) As much as we like to advertise Auba and Laca’s scoring record this season, we have been inefficient in front of goal and still lacking in the number of chances we create.

Final ball has many times either been put in blindly (Jenkinson and Mhkitaryan) or lack nuance.

Hunger to get to the ball has also been an issue for the forwards. They find themselves many times beaten by the defender as they prefer to wait for the ball to be played to them. They should instead be proactively moving toward the ball to attack it when they see crosses ready to come in.

This fundamental lack of pre-emptiveness doesn’t just afflict the forwards but also midfield.

Much of the tactics as mentioned Unai has got right but the more detail work is still work in progress for him and somewhat shaped by the limits in quality of the squad.

(Injuries of course don’t help)

3) Soft factors – Which is why its not all a numbers game or as easy as Neville, Henry or ‘By the Numbers’ Stats based American guy may suggest.

The soft factors is the psychological factor.

Confidence both within the team as a collective (on the road say) and as individuals.

This is where the other less seen side of management (by Emery or predecessor) comes into fore and is an equal component to tactics.

And it is an ongoing issue. Building confidence in players (including Mustafi), coaxing performance out of certain players who tend to get their head down too easily or lack off ball involvement (Say Ozil), working with young players who lack focus (AMN), tempering the wilder side of certain players (Kolasinac, Granit) or bringing more focus to bear with certain players (Auba).

How a team also gets control of the match is not necessarily (as we have seen with Wenger and again in recent matches) born out of simply sterile possession numbers.

What Emery is working on is having us impose the psychological control on the other team by being more lethal and efficient with chances.

That has yet proved elusive as time and again we have conspired to let teams back into matches not only with issues further back in defense but because we have failed to be as efficient up top.

Overall these are just some of the ongoing factors contributing to the fall off in performance at the moment.

Unai has for the most part been brilliant working with and managing within the limits of the current squad in hand.

Some better buying both strategically and tactically needs to come into play this summer.

Raul and Mslintat have been poor for the club saddling us with older players (Lichsteiner, Mhkitaryan) of dubious qualities and waning capabilities for high salaries (180K combined) that have curtailed our ability to load on this January. We have entered the Panic Loan era.

Come summer hopefully we can recalibrate and get the players truly needed to add into squad.

Until then, we have what we have and the gaffer will find a way to coax the best necessary into the top 4 (passing Spurts and St Totteringham a bit less likely now) plus of course the europa to play for.

As stable and strong a line up from here on end will also be key. Given the few matches left, I don’t think there is as strong and compelling argument for too much rotation.

Santori
Santori

You will excuse my long post hopefully.

Not saying I’m right but clearly Mustafi is a convenient distraction away from what truly is the problem.

Kwame Ampadu Down
Kwame Ampadu Down

2 things :
1. You are very much saying you’re right. It’s what you do.
2. You are of course right about Mustafi. He is far from our sole problem defensively…but he is a very big problem. Of all the defenders who have played regularly for us this season he has been – unquestionably – the worst.

Leno me, I’ll be your friend
Leno me, I’ll be your friend

I envy you Kwame, 1) for having the patience to read all that 2) for having the composure to write a well mannered response that makes far more sense than the aforementioned ‘all that’.
I wish you could filter more of his inevitable ego-feeding monologues, but alas I fear the burden of that neverending chore on a single soul could be devastating.

Don’t think anyone has ever said Mustafi accounts for 100% of our problems, merely that he is the by far the most costly, and that’s obvious. But as ever santori twists reality to make his point and then simply imagines a counter-point that he can argue with.
As if losing wasn’t enough pain without santori spamming us all with his perpetual and fragile notions time and time again 🤦🏻‍♂️

Arsecrack
Arsecrack

Was wondering where you got too after the Palace debacle. Now realise you were busy scripting this Mustafi smokescreen of a thesis.

Fireman Sam
Fireman Sam

Santori I salute if nothing else your extraordinary commitment to continuous arsenal based commentary.

Yagaru
Yagaru

Bore off cunt fucker

Ealing
Ealing

Give up, will you?

Mpls
Mpls

At least the season is almost over and we can get back to the important stuff. Bitching about Kroenke, arguing over stupid rumors, and finding new acrobatic ways to blame Wenger.

Works both Ways ?
Works both Ways ?

And equally finding new acrobatic ways to absolve Arsène of any blame?🤔

Petit's Handbag
Petit's Handbag

After watching that free kick last night again…I really hope the day was spent smashing balls at the lads until they realised that turning your back on the ball from a free is a fucking cowardly thing to do. We probably would of lost anyway but that was so unacceptable.(I hope we spent the day doing actual training on reflection)

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

It’s the hope that kills! 🙁

Better the Devil You Know
Better the Devil You Know

Possibly. We’re all missing the point here
Bad selections by Emery. Maybe
But 5 games in such a short time.
The Team was completely knackered!
And players pulling out of challenges?
You all know that when you’re fatigued succumbing to a silly injury is much easier. It would be season needing and we don’t have a huge squad. That definitely plays on the players minds.

I’ll m hugely gutted. As we are every time we loose. I can only rationalise it by the dlfact I think it was purely one game to far and we looked fucked to be honest.

A bit more of a break now so let’s see what benefit that brings to our performance on Sunday.
UTG

Alan B
Alan B

When the team needs to pick it up a first class captain can motivate. Who is that captain?

UGooner
UGooner

Well against Wolves and Palace. You were all both stupid and bad.

zyrth
zyrth

Get more movement from the entire team then! From the forwards to the fullbacks. Our entire team is so static that it feels like the oppositions are defending against cones.
Easy to say I know, but perhaps the coaching team needs to drill the players on movements hard.

jon

I guess they already discuss this, but I think one has to look at all our away match routines: Do we train to hard / to little the days before? Do we get enough sleep? Should we travel the day before, or go by plane? Should we further try to facilitate travel for Arsenal supporters to help us out away? The boys play as if they have a heavy hangover.

Mother
Mother

It’s bizarre init? I think the major issue is with our mentality; a bit of noise from the home crowd or conceding a goal just seems to suck the confidence out of us.