Former AEK Man Sokratis stars in win over Manchester United
We’re constantly told that a week is a long time in the football world and more often than not, that is proved to be completely true. Just ask Arsenal’s Sokratis and he will tell you about how quickly you can go from the villain to the hero. In Sokratis’ case, he didn’t even have to wait a week for the turn around in fortune, but rather a measly 72 hours.
It all went a bit pear-shaped for the 30-year-old whilst on the road with Arsenal in the Europa League after he saw red against Rennes. Two offences in the space of seven minutes saw Sokratis given his marching orders, which would prove calamitous for Arsenal and see them eventually lose control of a game they looked like winning at a canter.
In many ways, Sokratis’ red card was certainly the catalyst for a 3-1 defeat to Rennes, but it did look harsh with the 30-year-old saying afterwards that VAR would have overturned it, had it been used in Brittany that night.
Despite that, there were a few fingers pointed at the Greek international for being somewhat clumsy rather than trying to deliberately cheat.
Life always offers you a shot at redemption and in Sokratis' case, it came at a good time but against an opponent that could quite easily force you to endure another nightmare. When Manchester United travel to the Emirates there is no place to hide as an Arsenal player, especially for defenders who are asked to contain the quickest strike force in the Premier League.
The former AEK man rose to the challenge and produced one of the finest displays of defending the Emirates has seen for a long while as the Gunners kept out the Red Devils to win 2-0. Sokratis’ confrontational style of defending has the Arsenal faithful falling head over heels for their new centre-back. For far too long the Gunners have been slightly limp in defence, with fans desperate for a genuine hard man at the back who doesn’t mind kicking a lump out of an attacker if need be.
Step forward Sokratis and slowly but surely, the Gunners are beginning to look more assured at the back.
Since Sokratis' dominant display in defence led Arsenal to victory over Manchester United, the Gunners have become favourites to pip Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men to fourth place in the Premier League and are now only 8/11 in the football betting for a top-four place. From throwing away their Europa League chances to quite literally in Sokratis' case, stamping their authority on the Premier league, indeed, what a difference a week can make in football.
Sokratis is without a doubt beginning to make waves in the Premier League as well as turn heads at Arsenal. This has the English media trying to explain the curious cult of Sokratis Papastathopoulos with many journalists referring to the Greek sensation as ‘Mr Necessary’.
Over the years, Greece has supplied the Premier League with many fine exports but Sokratis’ arrival and subsequent performances have the 30-year-old looking like he could be the finest yet.