Posted on May 26, 2017 by ADMIN

Mustafi out of Cup Final! What are Arsenal’s options now?

There is a saying that when it rains at Arsenal, it pours, and that is exactly the club’s defensive situation ahead of the FA Cup final against the Premier League champions Chelsea. After Laurent Koscielny got himself suspended for a ludicrous challenge on Enner Valencia in the game against Everton and Gabriel got stretchered off later in the same game, the Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has now stated that he does not expect Shkodran Mustafi to start the all-important Cup final either.

Speaking in his press conference, the Frenchman said: “Mustafi, we still have some worries about. He is still sick at the moment, and has not trained yet. I do not think [Mustafi will play]. I have to listen to the medical people.”

Considering that the German international has not even started training yet, you’d have to say that it would take a minor miracle for him to be fit enough to start the Cup final, which leaves young Rob Holding and the Gunners’ forgotten captain Per Mertesacker as the only two recognised central defenders, with Nacho Monreal being an alternative option. Even if Mustafi wanted to play and Wenger is willing to risk it, there are strict FA guidelines that will not let it happen. So how would Arsenal line up at the back?

For me, there are two options. If Arsenal have to stick to the current three-at-the-back system, Mertesacker has to start alongside Holding and Monreal. Considering that the Spaniard is not a natural centre-half, the inexperience of Holding and the fact that Mertesacker has not started a game in more than a year, sticking with the system against a free-flowing Chelsea side may be a recipe for disaster.

The alternative would be to revert to a back-four, with Monreal and Holding at the heart of the defence. While this formation does not scream defensive stability either, I would go with it ahead of having to play Mertesacker. The big German is clearly past it and surely cannot be trusted to marshall the defence in a game as big as the FA Cup final.

AT

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35 thoughts on “Mustafi out of Cup Final! What are Arsenal’s options now?

  1. Quantic Dream

    Mertesacker is on a monstrous 90k-per week.. and now you are telling me he can’t be trusted to start ONE game?

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3

    1. JasonP

      But, but, but… He is great off the field, a real role model for the players to learn from worth every penny of the 90,000 a week he receives.

      But in all seriousness get rid of him and give it all straight to Alexis. Even if he leaves he’s given all the fans some joy to watch, we will never get a player of his quality again if he does leave we’ll have to settle for Barkley etc lol

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    1. JembutArsene

      Arsene cares, we’re all true fans care.

      Guess we might sell lot you at backyard sale of useless fans.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

      1. Janssen

        Ah! There is the gatekeeper Jembut, who decides who is a good Arsenal fan and who is not.

        Guess because I don’t expect us to win the FA cup or Mustafi to win it for us, that makes me a bad Arsenal fan in your book. It makes me a realistic Arsenal fan in my book.

        The formation is not going to win it for us today. We need things to go our way to win it and IMO that has little to do with Mustafa. We actually need a small miracle to win today IMO and that goes for whoever plays for us or whatever formation we use. We need luck.

        I honestly don’t care if we use three at the back or four. Would be different for me if we had a fully healthy squad in which case I would have preferred 3 at the back. Given all the injuries you can make an equally compelling case for 4 at the back.

        Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

        1. Lexynal

          @ Janssen: We don’t need fan (i doubt though) like you at Arsenal. You may pls go support Spuds…..you will be more than welcome at a club that hasnt played a final of any major competition – talkless of winning a trophy.

          Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. neil

    holding and monreal either side of mertesacker..
    or for something a little more adventurous how about bellerin and monreal either side of holding with the ox and gibbs as wing backs! very attacking and can you imagine ox and belleri down thst right side together !!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

    1. khangunners

      Hehe i like your risk it all attitude but bellerin and ox will be a liability there. Coz the three ddefenders dont go out on attack and everytime am sure bellerin and ox will be wanting to attack. Add that to defensively frailty from both so it will be a very risky maneuver.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Jaydawg

    What will be will be just support your team enough with the negativity. It’s an FA cup final! Enjoy it, Liverpool, spurs and city don’t have an opportunity to win anything ARSENAL ARSENAL ARSENAL

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 1

    1. Lexynal

      I wish we had more fans still as passionate and OBJECTIVE as @Jaydawg”. For goodness sake, we have had a poor season, BUT ARSENAL is playing FA Cup final in that same season. Common guys…..support YOUR team!

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. bran99

    I think 4 at the back will be more ideal, can’t trust leaving Mert alone in the middle, one on one with Hazard and we’ll see a comedy clip that will last a lifetime

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

    1. SynthiagoCazorla_Hvman_Machine

      So they said about City.. before Arsenal beat them in the semis to progress to this final.
      Guys, Arsenal’s cup form has been red hot all this while. Now recent back to back wins in the league improved the confidence level also.

      Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 3

      1. Vanpayslip is the truest/name a troll I ain't influenced

        Ok, Arsene

        Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 6

      2. khangunners

        I think city and us are or hve same problems. There squad is not that superior to us. But chelsea are superior to us all over the pitch but as they say it’s a one off game and anything can happen so lets go gunners😤

        Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

      3. RSH

        But Chelsea can defend, and we beat them once every 5 years. Our record against City overall is not really that bad.

        Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. ThirdManJW

    We have to stick to three at the back because of the simple reason, it’s working! Everyone, and their dog knows how to set up against Wenger’s usual formation, with Chelsea comfortably brushing us aside recently. Conte hasn’t come against Wenger’s new formation yet, so I say stick with it.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

    1. Troopz

      Three at the back works if the squad is fit and healthy i.e. all your first choice CBs are available for selection.

      Three at the back with unfit/inexperienced CBs is a recipe for disaster. Mark my words.

      Winning the FA Cup is not going to gloss over the atrocities committed by Wenger and the board, you understand?

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

  6. Atid

    Gibbs hasn’t trained all week either. Debuchy and Jenkinson are both in the squad along with Sheaf and Bramall.
    25 man squad
    Gk – Cech, ospina, martinez
    Defence – chamberlain, bellerin, jenkinson, Debuchy, sheaf, holding, mustafi (doubt) Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs (doubt) Bramall
    Holding Midfield – xhaka, ramsey, coquelin, elneny
    Attacking midfield – ozil, alexis, iwobi, walcott
    Strikers – welbeck, giroud, perez

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  7. Goonerboy

    The thing is, even with Koscielny we are not guaranteed a win against a team like chelsea
    now that there is no kos, its gonna be even more nervous for me and i dont want this season to go just like that for us, dunno know how i would cope…

    Since the last day of the season, i have been so devastated that i lost all desire for football seeing as we wont be in UCL and ManU won the EL which gives them a slot in the CL
    I just dont wanna imagine how i would feel if we lost to Chelsea, it would make this season a huge failure…if we win, we can at least count ourselves among clubs with silverware(ManU, Chelsea,and other leagues) ManU even have 3 titles…

    So i dont even wanna know who plays in defence i just a win…coyg!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    1. khangunners

      Hehe true. It was always gonna be a tough game with or without koss. Lets not forget that a squad has more than 11 players and they to should step up to cover for the first 11 player. Lets see how they perform if given a chance. This is like winning a lottery to them playing at a final and all season you were just a bench warmer. Am nervous though hehe

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Peter Kenny

    It is simple, Lets play Monreal, Per & Holding as back three. Then instruct the defensive midlfieders help pack the bus to frustrate chelsea attacks – otherwise we are headed for 6-0 humiliation or even worse. The strategy therefore should be to avoid heavy defeat because we really have a very small chance of success under the injury & suspension circumstances !!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    1. RSH

      It’s not simple when Wenger is in charge. You already know the instructions. Attack, attack, attack, leave CB’s exposed and pray on counters.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. SoOpa AeoN . STANDS . FOR . THE . TRUTH

    1st pLace – UCL
    2nd pLace- UCL
    3rd pLace- UCL
    4th pLace- UCL
    5th place- EUROPA
    6th pLace- UCL

    .
    Guess Life really isn’t fair with anything Arsenal!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Troopz

    If getting humiliated at a Wembley final is the last straw required to get Wenger to leave the football club, I’m all for it.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 9

    1. RSH

      Completely agree. If a lost meant Arsenal could become competitive again, I have no problem skipping out on a trophy people barley remember the winners of.

      Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Gonner SA

    Switch to 4-4-1-1

    Cech
    Bellerin, Holding, Monreal, Gibbs
    Ox, Ramsey, Xhaka, Sanchez
    Ozil
    Welbeck

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  12. Fatboy Gooney, Too Fat to track back.

    Oh well, Lamppost at the Front & Back formation it is then. 😕👍

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. mark

    Have to say it’s not looking good.

    But football is a funny old game.

    Anything is possible.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. fritzy81

    5-3-1–1
    bell…..holding….. mert…….mon….gibbs…
    ………..Ramsey..Coq….Xaka……………..
    …………………Sanch…………………….
    ………………….Welb………………………

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  15. Simon

    I’ve complained about Mertesacker for a few seasons-

    But I have to give him credit where it’s due- he’s a natural captain, and leader on the pitch.

    I’m staying optimistic, and hoping that he’s leadership will be more of a plus in the team than he’s lack of pace-

    And with 3 at back formation, think he’s lack of speed is less critical – so it could work

    #COYG!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  16. Sammy

    Why not a formation of
    Holding…Mert….Mon
    Bellerin…Xhaka. ..Ramsey….Of
    Ozil. … Sanchez
    Welbeck.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. RSH

    Why do we have both Mertesacker and Gabriel? One of them need to go this summer.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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