Sokratis Papastathopoulos issued a personal apology to Arsenal fans in the wake of their 2-2 draw with Watford on Sunday afternoon, insisting it was his own fault that the side dropped two points.
Familiar Achilles heel strikes Arsenal again
It was the centre-back’s in the 53rdminute that enabled the Hornets a way back into the contest, with his pass failing to reach intended target Matteo Guendouzi. Pressed high up the pitch by the home side, Gerard Deulofeu was on hand to intercept the ball, diverting it to Tom Cleverley, who later converted past Bernd Leno.
Arsenal were second best in the second half, facing a stunning 31 shots on goal over the course of the ninety minutes as the pressure mounted on Unai Emery’s side. Roberto Pereyra’s equaliser from the spot nine minutes from time was nothing less than Watford deserved after responding well to their recent managerial change.
The draw leaves Arsenal level on points with Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester United, but fans and players alike will be aggrieved that such a good opportunity to take maximum points escaped their grasp. Indeed, the aftermath has seen familiar questions raised over the attitude and character of some players alongside wider arguments over the success of Emery’s appointment.
Sokratis takes responsibility for Watford draw
Reflecting on the match, Sokratis appeared to take full responsibility for the performance, arguing that the mistakes made were caused solely by him rather than a signal of wider issues.
“I think that. I cost the game for the team,” he said. “It was my mistake for something simple that I don’t have to do. I think this was the problem why we lost the three points.”
Addressing his Instagram apology, the centre-back said “I apologised because I cost the game for the team and I have to work harder. I know up to this moment I didn’t have a mistake, I didn’t do nothing [wrong].”
“Everything was near perfect. But defence is no risk and it was my mistake. I don’t want to speak about others. It was my mistake, and this cost the game, nothing else. The other guys tried their best. This is all about our responsibility and we have to do better. It was my mistake and without it, we would take the three points”
Fans took to social media to thank the player for accepting responsibility for a poor performance in which his costly mistake offered Watford the platform from which to recover. In years prior, particularly in the final season of Arsene Wenger’s management, most of the blame was often taken solely by the manager, with players shirking away from issues, hiding behind his trust.
Thus, it’s refreshing to see Sokratis address where he made mistakes, with the hope that he will be able to cut them out of his game for the fixtures ahead.
Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night and the weekend’s result will only have added fuel to the fire as pressure continues to mount on Emery’s tactical and personnel decisions.