When the lineups were announced for Arsenal’s FA Cup third round meeting with Leeds, fans were shocked, and a bit confused, to see Sokratis starting at right back. To say that it caught supporters off guard would be an understatement.
Am I high or is Sokratis playing right back!!?!?!?— Trimz. (@Kiid_Trimz) January 6, 2020
Sokratis at right back is the most unnatural looking thing I’ve ever seen— Ciaran Kenny (@_Ciaran_95) January 6, 2020
The last time Sokratis had featured at right-back was in October 2015 while playing for Borussia Dortmund. The German side were dealing with injuries at the time and the Greek was called upon to face Bayern Munich. Dortmund lost 5-1 and Sokratis was run ragged by Robert Lewandowski, Mario Gotze and Thomas Muller.
Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are currently navigating their own defensive problems. With a number of players out due to injury or being rested, the manager gambled with Sokratis on the right.
The first half was all Leeds, and the entire Arsenal side struggled to contain the Championship leaders.
Arleta must have torn into his players at half time as Arsenal were a completely different side in the second half.
Even Sokratis contributed while playing out of position. Although he will never be confused for Cafu or Dani Alves, the big Greek did what he does best. He fought for possession while showcasing his strength and commitment to his team.
With less than five minutes remaining in the match, Sokratis took on multiple Leeds players. The battle at the corner flag ended with the Greek on the ground and two opponents attempting to win the ball back while kicking at him. Sokratis won this match and Arsenal maintained possession.
It’s doubtful that Sokratis will play at right back again any time in the near future. However, his efforts against Leeds won the respect of the fans.
Sokratis quality yet again. Absolute warrior. Man of the Match.— Franklin Tait (@franklingtait) January 6, 2020