Sokratis has echoed the comments of head coach Mikel Arteta by expressing his satisfaction with Arsenal’s performance in the opening 35 minutes of the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. Like the Spaniard, he also recognises that we dropped off in the 10 minutes either side of half time and paid the price by conceding a sloppy equaliser.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had finished off a slick move to put the Gunners in front on 12 minutes but the afternoon turned sour for the club captain when VAR adjudged a late tackle on Max Meyer to have been reckless. A yellow card issued by referee Paul Tierney was upgraded to a red and his teammates had to play the final 23 minutes a man short.
“I think the first 35 minutes, we played very well,” Sokratis told Arsenal.com.
“We did exactly what our manager asked of us. For 10 minutes in the first half and 10 minutes in the second half, we lost the game. I think we lost the mentality, the structure that we had. After the red card, it’s difficult.”
On the slick football that led to us breaking the deadlock – an 18-pass move and neat finish – Sokratis continued: “It’s everything about the work we do in training.
“I think that the first 35 minutes had a lot of things that we’ve been working on. Everything there was positive.”
Not so positive was the way we conceded. Arteta says he was upset with the way his players, who seemed to be expecting a free kick to be lofted into the box, turned off. Palace instead worked the ball to the right flank and when the Gunners failed to clear a cross, Kouyate played the ball to Ayew who finished with the aid of a big deflection off David Luiz.
“A little bit of it is us switching off and we were also unlucky because the ball came off David,” said Sokratis.
“I think that we fought afterwards and in the end we are not happy. We did much better than the other team but a point is a point.”
Given the sending off, Sokratis said a draw was probably an acceptable result although it’s clear that more dropped points is frustrating.
“In the end, if you play with 10 men then yes [it’s a good point]. But if we watch the game back again we’re disappointed because I think that we played much better than them. We had lots of chances to win the game.
He ended on a positive note, stressing that things are improving under the new regime.
“We had the chances and we were unlucky,” he said. “I am very happy that we showed this spirit, especially after the red card. I think that this period has been better with what we’re doing right now, that we’re fighting all together, than how it was two or three months ago. We have to look forward, improve and play better of course, but with this spirit.”