MX23RW : Tuesday, December 11 13:48:53

Papastathopoulos – still plenty to come from Arsenal

Papastathopoulos – still plenty to come from Arsenal
© Reuters
The Gunners are a point off the top four in the Premier League and unbeaten in 17 games in all competitions.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes Arsenal are only playing at 70 per cent of their potential as they close in on a place in the Premier League top four.

The Gunners won 2-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday to move just a point behind London rivals Chelsea, who currently sit fourth and in the final Champions League berth.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved level with Sergio Aguero at the top of the division's scoring charts as his eighth strike of the campaign settled an even contest at the Vitality Stadium.

A Jefferson Lerma own goal had put the visitors ahead before Joshua King levelled for Bournemouth – who have now lost three in a row following a fine start to the campaign.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have extended their unbeaten run to 17 games across all competitions – but Sokratis insists there is still more to come from Unai Emery's side.

"We are around 70-80 per cent," the defender said when asked how close the team are to reaching their full potential.

"We need to improve sometimes to not lose the ball or when we have the ball to finish the action and score.

"That is the difference, we need to improve and we know this. We work every day and I am happy that I am part of a team that works very good together.

"Of course we need to improve, of course we would like to put Arsenal in the top teams in the Premier League – we try every day for this."

Emery opted to field a back-three for the first time in the league this season as Sokratis was joined by Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding.

Papastathopoulos
Papastathopoulos was part of a three-man defence at Bournemouth (John Walton/PA)

While the change in shape offered Bournemouth hope at times throughout the game, Greece international Sokratis feels Arsenal are adept at altering their system when the situation demands.

"I think that we played well, it was the first game in the Premier League where we started with three at the back," he added.

"We know that we need to improve more but I think it was a good result and most of the game we played good, we didn't play back.

"Of course it changes something but in the end we cannot find the excuse for if something is not going good. We are professional players and we have to play with five, with three, with four (defenders)."

Bournemouth were beaten by Manchester United and Newcastle ahead of the international break before losing to Arsenal.

A strong start to the season means the Cherries still sit eighth in the table and defender Charlie Daniels is determined to keep morale high ahead of a trip to champions Manchester City next weekend.

"We have to be positive," he told afcb.co.uk.

"The games we have played have been tight, it is not like we have lost by a big margin so going into the next game we know it is going to be really, really tough.

"They (Manchester City) are the best team in the league and we are going to have to go there with a positive attitude and positive mind-frame to try and get something out of the game."


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Mesut Ozil in action for Arsenal on November 3, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1613303462842
2Manchester CityMan City1613214593641
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs16120430161436
4Chelsea16104233132034
5Arsenal16104235201534
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd167542826226
7Everton166642319424
8Bournemouth167272526-123
9Leicester CityLeicester166462120122
10Wolverhampton WanderersWolves166461719-222
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham166372325-221
12Watford166372023-321
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton166371922-321
14Cardiff CityCardiff1642101530-1514
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle163491322-913
16Crystal Palace1633101323-1012
17Burnley1633101532-1712
18Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1624101027-1710
19Southampton161691330-179
20Fulham1623111640-249

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