Gary Neville slams Arsenal star for ‘mistake’ against Tottenham

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Arsenal centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been criticised by Gary Neville for his defending in the build-up to Tottenham’s opening goal during Sunday’s North London derby.

Strikes from Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped the Gunners recover from a two-goal deficit to secure a 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium.

Unai Emery’s side fell behind early in the game through a Christian Eriksen tap-in, before Harry Kane doubled Spurs’ lead from the penalty spot in the 40th minute.

Although Bernd Leno was criticised for his role in Tottenham’s opener, when he parried Erik Lamela’s initial effort into the path of Eriksen, Neville felt that Sokratis also made a costly mistake in the build-up.

Sokratis was criticised for his role in Tottenham’s opening goal

The Greek defender was caught out of position after he ventured beyond the halfway line to join team-mate Granit Xhaka in challenging Harry Kane for a header, which the Spurs striker won to set his team on the counter-attack which led Eriksen’s finish.

“I thought Sokratis on that first header was terrible,” said Neville during his commentary for Sky Sports (via Metro ).

“If a centre-back goes in like that he at least has to make a challenge.

Sokratis challenges Harry Kane in the air with Granit Xhaka

‘Xhaka is going up for it and you just watch Sokratis, I mean, that is not the challenge of a centre-back. He has to be dominant, take everything that he can.

“Xhaka’s under it, and then just watch Sokratis there: you can’t do that. And then all of a sudden Kane quickens the attack up and the rest of them are scrambling.”

Sokratis wasn’t the only Arsenal player to receive a damning assessment from the former Manchester United right-back, with Xhaka also criticised for giving away the penalty that allowed Mauricio Pochettino’s side to double their lead.

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The Switzerland international made a rash challenge on South Korea striker Son Heung-min to give Kane the chance to fire home from 12 yards.

“[It’s] absolute madness from Xhaka,” said Neville.

“He does it week in, week out. Season after season. He doesn’t seem to learn.”



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