Of the three major summer signing by Arsenal, there is little doubt that the Germany international Shkodran Mustafi has enjoyed the best settling in period, perhaps because of the injury problems to Gabriel and Per Mertesacker that meant Arsene Wenger had little choice but to throw him in at the deep end.
Since making his debut about a month ago in the Premier League win over Southampton though, Mustafi has been an ever present and has nailed his place down with some fine performances and a growing understanding with our French international centre back Laurent Koscielny.
In those four EPL games with the new defensive pairing the Gunners have not conceded a single goal from open play, so it is not hard to see why Mustafi has kept his place even though the Brazilian Gabriel is fit to play again. As well as being a good technical player the German has the same sort of aggression we see from Koscielny and that has certainly added to the feeling that Arsenal are a stronger and tougher to beat team this season.
Mustafi knows that Arsenal struggled to beat Burnley but in a report by the Daily Mail he said he was happy with the way that we showed this extra steel to get through a tough test at Turf Moor. He clearly feels that this new grittier version of the Gunners has got what it takes to challenge for the title.
He said, ‘It was all about coming here and giving everything.
‘It suits us more to play against big teams because it’s not always easy to come to places like this and change from style to steel.
‘But we showed that we have good character and steel, and that’s what gave us the three points in the end.
‘The great teams fight until the end because they know that there’s still an opportunity to score a goal and we showed that.
‘It just showed us that we are capable of scoring from every situation, even in the last minutes. A win like this is important to us.’
Do you agree that Arsenal now have enough steel to go with our silky skills?