Shkodran Mustafi deserves one last chance at Arsenal
Shkodran Mustafi has been largely inconsistent at Arsenal since his £35 million move from Valencia, but he deserves one last chance to establish himself at the club.
Mustafi is one of those many names that divides opinion amongst Arsenal fans. Some are very dismissive of him. They think that he is just not good enough to play at a club of this size. Some, like myself think he has great quality that has not been tapped properly for a variety of reasons. Mustafi either puts in 2/10 or 10/10 performances. Consistency is lacking. But can this be fixed? Yes, very much.
His performance in the 2-0 win at the North London derby will go long in memory. Arsenal’s best defensive displays last season came when Mustafi was at the heart of it. When Arsene Wenger shifted to a back 3 for a brief period of time, the team looked very solid with Mustafi in the center of the back 3. He helped organise the team’s defensive structure. His leadership quality is not to be underestimated too.
When Mustafi first came to Arsenal, the club went on a 22 games unbeaten record. Mustafi and Koscielny formed a solid partnership. However, in the last one year or so – Laurent Koscielny has declined massively. This, along with a lack of defensive structure in front of the back four has had a detrimental effect on Mustafi’s game.
However, he is not a flawless defender. His biggest problem is concentration. The Sergio Aguero opener to give Manchester City the lead in the crucial league cup final is a prime example of this. Sometimes he tends to lunge into tackles, when he can easily use his good physique to brush aside the opposing attacker. This is something that Head coach, Unai Emery and his assistant, Juan Carlos Carcedo – who is responsible for coaching the defence will look to fix. It is not impossible to correct this flaw. A more pragmatic and meticulous approach from Emery could well help enhance Mustafi’s game. Emery likes to stand by the touchline and keep shouting his players instructions. The new setup could well help correct the holes in his game.
Mustafi deserves one last chance to impress at Arsenal. It is imperative that the fans get behind him, should he be given the chance by Emery.