10
Oct

Shkodran Mustafi’s injury: How hard it hits us and what are the ways out


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Arsene Wenger has another headache to cope with

Dreaded November is coming and the  early signs are not very promising. Arsene Wenger has lost the centre piece of his defence to yet another injury. The boss faces a huge dilemma as to how to deal with the problem come the Watford game this weekend. The Hornets have been in fine form so far and will not be as easy to beat as Brighton or Borisov. A steady defence is very important in such a game.

When we say steady, one Arsenal player comes to mind- the captain. Per Mertesacker is the go to guy if you need to steady your defence and he has performed well, when given the chance. The World Cup winner has good understanding with the likes of Monreal and Koscielny and should have no problem fitting in.

However, his lack of pace will be a huge boost for Watford who have speedy players like Richarlison and Andre Carrillo who love to get in behind the centre backs. This cannot be risked when we are building momentum after a sloppy start. That brings us to fan’s choice- Rob Holding. The youngster has been hailed as a future Arsenal captain and is one of England’s brightest prospects. Holding can easily slot in between two very experienced defenders on either side or he can play on the right of the back three with Laurent Koscielny in the middle. However, he has not been in very good form and his age has to be taken into account. Holding is not the complete defender that Mustafi is and will not have the calming effect that him or Mertesacker have right now.

That leaves us with Callum Chambers who has not played enough games even when he is fit this season to be at the centre of our back line. Wenger may use Monreal in the centre and bring Kolasinac to the left of the back three. In any way, Wenger knows that nobody in the squad can provide the maturity and athleticism that Mustafi possesses. That is his biggest loss. Mustafi is the complete package and losing him means a lack of adaptability and being vulnerable in different areas. The most sensible way out is to rotate between Holding and Mertesacker, depending on the opposition’s playing style, till the 25 year old returns.

Whether this is a catastrophe or a chance for a hero to rise is up to time but Wenger will have to be on his toes to deal with this problem and not drop points before crunch matches against Manchester City and Tottenham.


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