Sokratis defends former Arsenal team-mate Granit Xhaka after costly Burnley error

Granit Xhaka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on March 06, 2021 in Burnley, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.
Xhaka was defended by Sokratis (Picture: Danehouse/Getty)

Granit Xhaka’s former team-mate Sokratis Papasthopoulos leapt to the defence of the midfielder after his costly error against Burnley and hailed him as one of Arsenal’s best players.

Xhaka’s errant pass cannoned off Burnley striker Chris Wood and into the back of the net to draw Sean Dyche’s side level, with Arsenal dropping two points in a 1-1 draw.

The 28-year-old was heavily criticised for his costly contribution, with Martin Keown describing the mistake as a ‘calamity’ and the Swiss international was left apologising to Arsenal fans.

‘I hold my hands up for their goal and I’m sorry for the mistake,’ Xhaka wrote on Instagram.

‘That’s football and right now I feel just as frustrated as all of you.’

But Sokratis thinks Xhaka deserves more praise than he gets and branded him a ‘very important player’ for the Gunners.

Sokratis and Granit Xhaka of Arsenal during the Arsenal Training Session on February 08, 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Sokratis defended Xhaka (Picture: Getty)

And the Greek defender expects his former team-mate to bounce back quickly and return to being one of Arsenal’s best performers.

‘Granit is one of the best team-mates I’ve had the pleasure of working with,’ Sokratis told Football.London.

‘He’s a very important player for Arsenal and I believe that he’s a good player who can be a leader in the team.

‘When you make one mistake everybody will go against you, but I know Granit’s character.

‘Before the Burnley game he played five or six games where he was probably the best player in the team.

‘I think he’s one of Arsenal’s best players and certainly one of the best midfielders that I’ve played with.’

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