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Sokratis: VAR has to improve but players must be respectful

01:30 GMT+3 13/01/2020
Sokratis Arsenal 2019/20
The Arsenal centre-back believes the use of video assistant referees is a good thing, despite Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's red card at Crystal Palace

Arsenal defender Sokratis says VAR must be respected now it is has been established in the Premier League.

The Gunners were left cursing the video assistant referee on Saturday when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sent off during their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace.

Initially, the Arsenal skipper was only shown a yellow card by match official Paul Tierney for his challenge on the touchline which forced Palace midfielder Max Meyer to be substituted.

But after the incident was checked by VAR, the punishment was upgraded to a red card - leaving Mikel Arteta’s side to see out the final 23 minutes of the contest with 10 men.

They will now be without their top scorer for the next three games, with Aubameyang set to miss league games against Sheffield United and Chelsea, as well as the FA Cup fourth round tie at Bournemouth.

But despite the way things unfolded at Selhurst Park, Sokratis is adamant that players must respect the technology now that it has been introduced. though he does accept that improvements in how it is implemented are needed.

The Greece international’s comments come after West Ham midfielder Declan Rice stated that "every player" in the English top flight wants VAR scrapped.

“Of course when you lose the game from the VAR, sometimes you are disappointed,” said Sokratis.

“But I am not the special man who can say if the VAR is good or not. I think the VAR is there to help the referees.

“It’s the first year that VAR is in England. Of course it will improve, everybody expects it will improve in the years. We have to be respectful.”

Focusing on the incident which saw Aubameyang dismissed against Crystal Palace, the defender added: “I’ve said already that VAR is there to help the referees.

“I think this year we are unlucky because VAR in three or four games can be better for us. I’m not thinking about the game on Saturday, but about the game at home against Palace and at Sheffield United.

“But in the end it’s not something where I criticise the VAR. The VAR I think is good because it’s there to help the referees.”

Arsenal’s draw at Selhurst Park left them 11 points adrift of the top four places in the Premier League.

Aubameyang had given them an early lead during an excellent first-half display, but Palace grew into the game after the interval and earned a share of the points when Jordan Ayew’s shot deflected off David Luiz and looped over Bernd Leno.

“At the end I think the point was not bad because with football today with 10 players is very difficult,” said Sokratis.

“But if we watch all the game, we are disappointed because I think that we play much better, especially the first 35 minutes when we played really good, we did what the manager asked from us and what we’d worked on the last few days.

“We switched off for the first 10 minutes of the second half and of course we conceded an unlucky goal because until that moment I think they’d had maybe only one shot.

“After the red card it was difficult. We had to fight more, to show more spirit and we had to give everything. In the end, one point I think we are not happy with, but it’s not also the worst.”