A particular section of Arsenal fans have appreciated the showing of Shkodran Mustafi during the club’s 2-1 triumph over Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Monday night.
The German was criticised by some supporters after his mistake which contributed to David Luiz’s sending off at Chelsea but that did not deter manager Mikel Arteta from picking him in the starting XI to face the Cherries.
Arteta spoke positively about the attitude of Mustafi prior to the Cup tie and the centre-back put up a very good performance where he was commanding at the back and was impressive with his long-range distribution.
For his 61 minutes on the playing field, the 27-year-old was comfortably in control of his defensive work with two interceptions, three clearances and three aerials won (whoscored) and he was likewise impressive with his long balls with 11 of his 19 attempted finding a teammate.
Mustafi’s game ended on a rather unfortunate note with a collision with goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez that saw him sustain an ankle injury, but the club’s faithful were still pleased with the defender’s contribution for his time on the pitch.
Mustafi had to be stretchered off after twisting his ankle in the collision with Martinez and speaking in the post-match press conference, Arteta happened to suggest that the setback does not appear promising on the first look.
In this case, the Gunners will be down to just three specialist central defenders fit for the league game at Burnley. Sokratis and David Luiz may feature in the central defence on Sunday with Rob Holding acting as the back-up option. Pablo Mari was fancied to arrive from Flamengo over the weekend but the club have yet to finalise a transfer fee for the defender.