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Sokratis explains Mikel Arteta's vision for Arsenal's defence after filling in at right-back

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Sokratis Papastathopoulos has ensured that Arsenal's defensive improvements are down to the entire squad rather than just the backline itself.

Seemingly unable to keep clean sheets under Unai Emery at the start of the season, the Gunners now look resolute at the back with Mikel Arteta's guidance.

In the 11 games since the 37-year-old's appointment in December, they have conceded just eight goals and have kept five clean sheets (three in there last three games).

Although Sokratis, David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi have massively raised their games under Arteta - which Mustafi put down to remembering to do the simple things - the 31-year-old feels that all 11 players contributing defensively is another factor.

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"I said before, that when all the team defends, the defence is better," he said after keeping a clean sheet in the 1-0 win over Olympiacos.

"It’s one team, it’s not only four or five players. We are one team, we have to defend everybody and we have to attack. I think that now we do better. Of course there is space to improve, but we start to do every game things that are very important for the team.

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"I think we are in a good way. Every game is different, every game we have to do things for the win. Now this game is finished, we have to think about Everton."

Making his sixth start under Arteta at the Karaiskakis Stadium, this was just his second at right-back. The first time he was used there was in the 1-0 FA Cup win over Leeds United in January - where he performed relatively well - but with Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the bench this seemed like a strange decision.

As expected, at right-back Sokratis was incredibly conservative and took a while to truly grow into the game. Despite this, he insists that he didn't have a problem playing there.

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"Of course it’s a little bit different, but I have experience and when the manager says to me something I have to do on the pitch, this is my work," the 31-year-old added.

"I am here to help the team. It doesn’t matter if I play right, left or in the middle and I will give everything for the team.

"I think it was a very difficult game, we were ready for this. The first 10/15 minutes Olympiacos played better than us, but I think it’s normal because the fans, the stadium, they push a lot.

"After we start to play our football, we start to find the players in the pockets, in the lines. It was a good result."

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The Gunners now head back to Emirates Stadium with a crucial away goal which will give Olympiacos a mountain to climb on February 27. Seeing as the Greek's have won four of their meetings against Arsenal, however - including their last trip to the Emirates in 2015, Sokratis is wary of being overconfident.

"Of course the goal that we did is very important, but we have another 90 minutes," he said.

The first half is finished, but now the second half we again have to be ready."


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