Tag Archives: Shkodran Mustafi

Mustafi the Monstrosity

Arsenal signed Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia in 2016. The talk of the first few months of his Arsenal career was that he had solved Arsenal’s long term defensive problems.

In December of the same year, whilst everyone was saying how great he was – at that point he had yet to be in a losing side in an Arsenal shirt – I wrote a blog highlighting that Mustafi had not really solved Arsenal’s defensive crisis.

Pretty much 18 months on from that article, the evidence is conclusive. Mustafi has not solved Arsenal’s issues in defence.

Against Newcastle yesterday, fault for both goals can be laid squarely at the German’s feet.

For the first, he was static, letting Ayoze Perez run across the front of him in the 6-yard box. He made a near identical mistake for Shane Long’s goal for Southampton last week.

And for the second he was caught ball watching once more.

It was a poor header by Nacho Monreal, but Mustafi failed to follow Islam Slimani. This led the Algerian to have a free header and set the ball rolling for Newcastle’s winner.

A lot of people complain that Arsene Wenger does not improve defenders. Whilst this argument does have some weight, the problem with Mustafi is something that can not be coached.

He continually loses his man, continually lets his opponent run off the front, side and back of him. He is certainly not a Martin Keown when it comes to man marking.

His mistakes are due to one thing. His lack of concentration. This leads him to be continually out of position. Always on the back foot. And many a goal conceded. Concentration is not something that can be coached into a player.

So Mustafi needs to go. Or at least be relegated to a squad player. And this is where Arsenal’s defensive crisis deepens.

Laurent Koscielny can not be relied upon to play 38 league games. He will be 33 in September and has the Achilles of a 90 year old. He has struggled to play twice a week this season and needs replacing.

So Arsenal have one centre back who is not good enough to be first choice, and another who is not fit enough to be first choice.

It leaves Arsenal in a situation where we now need to sign two first choice centre backs in the summer.

But is trying to buy two top class centre backs in the summer unrealistic?

Arsenal are once again prisoners of being poor in the transfer market.

Last summer it was clear that either Gabriel or Mustafi could leave the club. Gabriel went back to Spain, and Mustafi nearly went to Inter Milan.

But what did not happen was Arsenal signing a new centre back.

We knew last summer that Mustafi was not good enough. We also knew Koscielny had his injury issues. And we knew Per Mertesacker had very little left in the tank. So why did we not sign a new centre back last summer – regardless of Mustafi going to Inter Milan or not?

With a bit of forward planning, we should have signed a centre back in 2017 who could then play alongside either Koscielny or Mustafi. And then in 2018 buy another centre back to partner that man.

Instead we signed no one. And that leaves us in a position where we now need to sign (and imbed) two new centre backs into the first team.

It is a situation that we should not be in. And a situation that will probably only see us sign one centre back. And it is also a situation of our own making.

A situation that highlights just how poor we have been in the transfer market over the last 10 years. No planning. No thinking. Just winging it.

Hopefully with the two new men coming in (Sven Mislintat & Raul Sanllehi) will take the power and thinking on transfers away from dithering Wenger.

What is for certain, Mustafi has not solved our defensive crisis.

Keenos

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7 OUT for Arsenal’s trip to Watford

Arsenal could be without seven first team players for their trip to Watford in the Premier League this weekend following the international break

Prior to the final round of World Cup qualifiers, Arsenal were already without Laurent Koscielny, who had been sidelined for the Gunners over the past few weeks. The French centre back has seen a flair up of a long-term existing injury to his achilles. His chances of being fit for Saturday’s game were 50/50.

Koscielny may well be rushed back into the game with centre back partner Shkodran Mustafi having limped off in Germany’s 5-1 win over Azerbaijan on Sunday. The German international could miss the club’s next seven fixtures having suffered a torn ligament just 36 minutes into the game.

Another who did not travel with his country was Mesut Ozil has played just 17 minutes of Arsenal’s last 6 games as he recovers from a knee injury.

Two with a chance of returning are Francis Coquelin and Danny Welbeck.

Welbeck picked up a groin strain against Chelsea and hopes to be fit for the match, whilst Coquelin has been out since the Bournemouth fixture which took place on the 9th of September.

Calum Chambers on the other hand is not in contention for the clash. He is suffering a knee injury that will keep him out until the end of the month.

While Santi Cazorla will be out until the new year after suffering Achilles problems all the way back in October 2016.

Keenos

 

Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Arsenal’s Defensive Crisis & More

So a week or so without blogging has done me well. I feel refreshed, I have learnt some new words, and I have actually got some proper work done. But I am back, and I thought a good way to start off would be a recap of stuff that I would have blogged on in the last few weeks…

Mesut Ozil & Alexis Sanchez

Speculation is increasing that both will leave on a free in the summer. I would have dumped them both last summer and got in some replacements. My opinion is the same for January. Take what we can, and get in some replacements (Thomas Lemar and Julian Draxler still getting talked about).

Harry Winks

Who? Was what I asked when he got called up for England.

It turns out he plays for Spurs, and has started 4 Premier League games in his career. Good job devaluing the shirt Gareth. Still baffles me as to how Theo Walcott fails to make the England squad whilst the links of Jesse Lingard and this Winks fella get in.

THAT Spurs Book

White Hart Lane: The Spurs Glory Years 1899-2017

  • 2 League titles
  • 8 FA Cups

Arsene Wenger: We Want You to Stay 1996-2017

  • 3 League titles
  • 7 FA Cups

Spurs really are a deluded bunch.

“Super Clubs”

A lot has been written in recent years about Super Clubs. The likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. A lot of what has been written is positive, blue prints on how they got to where they are, and how others should attain to get there.

Whilst the likes of the 4 previously mentioned sides, alongside the likes of Juventus. Inter and AC Milan are at the top of the footballing hierarchy, the life of a football club is cyclical, and just because you eat from the top table, does not mean you will not have your struggles.

Man U, for example, have not been the same since Sir Alex Ferguson left. The other British Super Club, Liverpool, are 26 years without a title.

Bayern Munich, after years of everyone saying this is how you run a club seem to be intent in ripping themselves apart through internal politics. Whilst the famed Barcelona La Masia academy seems to be no longer producing world superstars.

Real Madrid sit 7 points off top and have won just 2 league titles in 10 years.

The two Milan clubs have also struggled since Juventus returned from the match fixing scandal.

These are all great clubs. They have the history, the success, the European trophies. Yet they are like every other club, they have good periods and bad periods.

Arsenal are not at that top table. We have never been, and whilst we wish we were at the top, the fact is we are the level below.

Every clubs have their troubles, no matter if they are a super club, the one we should all dream to become, the one which we all try and copy. No one is immune from a poor period, a period of turmoil.

Sean Dyche for Arsenal

So Ian Wright said Sean Dyche could be the next Arsenal manager. Whilst I agree that Arsenal legends should not be abused for their view, they are not free from criticism. And this view point is just a little bit silly from Ian Wright.

I have seen some fans backing him. “Anyone but that c**T Wenger” I saw one Facebook post from an admin of a page with 25,000 people. This is just stupidity.

The majority of us believe that Arsene Wenger’s time is over, but it should not be anyone but Wenger. This is just stupid.

When Wenger does go, we need to get an elite manager. A proven winner. Do not let your agenda lead you down a path of anyone but Wenger.

Jack Wilshere

After two poor England performances, where the side lacked creativity, plenty are calling for Jack Wilshere to be rushed back into the first team.

We all know that Wilshere is England’s best central midfielder, and if fit, starts. But let’s not rush him.

I would not play him in any international friendly until the World Cup preparation starts at the end of the season. Concentrate on letting him get fit, and stay fit. The 2 weeks off every few weeks will do him the world of good. Then at the World Cup, he will (hopefully) be fit and ready to go.

What is the point in playing him in meaningless friendlies?

Defensive Crisis

So Shkodran Mustafi pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem for Germany against Azerbaijan. It has also been reported as a thigh strain.

With Laurent Koscielny plagued once more by his troublesome achilles, it is being reported that Arsenal face a defensive crisis ahead of the game against Watford.

The usual moaners are complaining that we did not buy a centre back in the summer.

If the above two are out, it still leaves us with Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal as the back 3. That is the same back 3 that won us the FA Cup Final. And we still have Calum Chambers in reserve.

I would not be surprised if Koscielny is fit to start on Saturday. His withdrawal from the French squad is more of a precaution.

But if he is out, we are certainly not in a defensive crisis.

The International Break

Mixed results for Arsenal players, as Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette helped their countries qualify.

Meanwhile Aaron Ramsey Wales and Sead Kolasinac’s Serbia just missed out on a play off.

I did smile when I read the moody dog shagger Alexis Sanchez will not be at the World Cup. Call me petty, but whilst he (and Mesut Ozil) want out of Arsenal, I want as little success for the pair as possible – unless it is in an Arsenal shirt.

Keenos