Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes new Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta has unified the squad after they held on with 10 men to earn a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the visitors ahead 12 minutes into the game but Jordan Ayew levelled for Palace in the 54th minute.
The Gunners’ hopes of victory took a blow when Aubameyang was sent off with 67 minutes on the clock for a high and dangerous tackle on Max Meyer, which saw VAR upgrade Paul Tierney’s original yellow card to a red.
Further chances were created during the final 23 minutes of the Premier League encounter but both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils and Arteta’s men stretched their unbeaten run to three games.
“We had the chances and we were unlucky,” Sokratis told the official club website. “I am very happy that we showed this spirit, especially after the red card.
“I think that this period has been better with what we’re doing right now, that we’re fighting all together, than how it was two or three months ago. We have to look forward, improve and play better of course, but with this spirit.”
Arsenal’s Greek defender admitted he was slightly frustrated with VAR, after the technology was used to send off Aubameyang.
He added: “VAR is there to help the referees. I didn’t show a very good reaction but we are disappointed this year because we have been a little bit unlucky with VAR.
💬 "Knowing Auba, there's no intention to make such a tackle. Hopefully Meyer hasn't been injured. We are sorry for that."— Arsenal (@Arsenal) January 11, 2020
“We’ve lost many points. It’s not against VAR or referees, we’re just unlucky.”
Palace centre-back Gary Cahill praised the response of his team-mates after they had struggled to gain a foothold in the London derby during the opening half an hour.
Eventually Roy Hodgson’s team got to grips with Arsenal and caused them problems in the second half, with James Tomkins denied a winner by Sokratis’ clearance on the line.
Selhurst was amazing today and this team never stops battling! Deserved the point and unlucky not to get more from the game 💪🦅 #cpfc#NikeFootballpic.twitter.com/nEHyzZglNa— Gary Cahill (@GaryJCahill) January 11, 2020
Cahill told Palace TV: “We are a bit frustrated. Circumstances of playing against 10 men in the second half meant we tried to push and it’s a bit frustrating we didn’t come away with the three points.
“At the same time, in the first 20 minutes we found it very difficult to match their movement and quality on the ball.”
He continued: “Ever since I’ve walked through the door, the spirit in this group, we all work for each other, and the kind of characters we’ve got, you’re going to get that. Considering how tight the league is, that consistency will be key.”
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