Arsenal’s defense hasn’t gotten much better compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean that Sokratis hasn’t been a brilliant addition. Because he has.
Arsenal‘s defense was the black eye of last season. Surrendering over 50 goals is simply unacceptable for a team that has eyes on winning major silverware not just in England, but in Europe as a whole.
As such, that was the primary concern entering the 2018 summer transfer window – how could the Gunners address this problem. More specifically, how could Unai Emery address it in his first year without much money to back him up?
The answer seemed to be Sokratis. The Greek defender was on the outs at Borussia Dortmund following his own lackluster campaign and the Mislintat crew was able to nab him for a bargain rate.
The problem with the situation he was walking into was that it was a problem that was beyond his capabilities to fix.
This was not a personnel problem, as we have covered numerous times.
This was not a simple matter of changing out some bodies and calling it a day.
What this problem needed was a philosophical overhaul that involved covering the defense far better than had been done previously, as well as numerous other problems within.
Sokratis, for the record, has done a very good job. There was maybe one nervy moment when he missed a karate kick clearance, but aside from that, he has been as solid as we can ask him to be.
Similarly, Shkodran Mustafi has been quite good as well, cobbling together what we might audaciously call “consistency.”
That’s all well and good, but the problem remains. In case you haven’t noticed, the Gunners are still giving up an inordinate number of goals. But it hasn’t been at the fault of their defenders. As mentioned, both have been good, if not slightly better than good, and deserve a better goals-against tally than what we are currently seeing.
So while Sokratis didn’t necessarily fix the defensive problem, the problem wasn’t his to fix. He was here to paper over the cracks and not royally screw up. He’s done that. neither he nor Mustafi are personally on the hook for any particular goal. It remains a club failing.
But, in the meantime, while we wait for the problem to be solved, we can be satisfied in knowing that Sokratis has done his part. For what that’s worth.