Do Arsenal really miss Mustafi so much?

Well it seems like it has all gone wrong for Arsenal, with a terrible week turning the tide for the Gunners and changing the outlook from us being right in the race for the Premier League title to us hanging on by the fingernails to a place in the top four.

It has only been two defeats for Arsenal and both were potentially tough away games, but with things being so tight at the top and Chelsea on an 11 match winning run that was enough to leave our title challenge looking in real danger of fizzling out, but why have we come to this point after losing only one other EPL game all season?

There is a common denominator to the three defeats and his name is Shkodran Mustafi. The German defender was not ready for that first match of the season which we lost to Liverpool. It was a makeshift back four that day which let in four goals but since then Mustafi and Koscielny have forged a great pairing and we did not lose a game in which they started.

Since the new centre back picked up an injury and Gabriel has come in we have conceded two leading positions and even though you cannot blame the Brazilian directly it does seem to be a bit of a coincidence, so do we really miss the summer signing that much?

If so, will our chances of the title be gone by the time he returns to action in the new year?



  1. Juhi McLovin says:

    But let us not forget that we’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in the last 12 matches and I think Mustafi played in 10 of them.

    1. bran99 says:

      yes but we won or drew them all, since he is gone what has happened? no clean sheets and no wins either.. yes we miss him, very organized and always trying to be the first to reach to the ball whenever it comes close. we don’t do that now, everyone is walking around waiting for the 90 minute so that they can go home and wait for the paycheck, except Alexis

  2. Ramterta says:

    and mertz too.German defenders are not so error prone

  3. Ozzy AFC says:

    It would certainly appear that there is little or no cohesion when Mustafi is not playing, however the midfield seemed to shut down yesterday and all of the attacking players went on the missing list as well.
    It feels ridiculous to say that without one player we collapse but it seems to me its a combination of no one wanting to take charge and own the game or the mistakes that were made. Its like there is no responsible adult on the pitch to take charge when the pressure is put on us.
    Perhaps that what Mustafi has been doing and that’s why he’s being missed.

  4. Invincibles49 says:

    Style without Steel. That is why we cannot win the PL.

    1. bran99 says:

      when people were shouting Kante, everyone was like ‘we have the big Coq’, now Kante has taken the EPL cup from Leicester to Chelsea, and we got the handsome boy Xhaka, no steel in him, just a yellow or red card in the making

  5. Ramterta says:

    the problem is that midfield.
    Xhaxa lacks movement and coquelin is a terrible passer.
    It leaves our foward play looking blunt
    Our defence also has no discipline at all.

  6. Ozzy AFC says:

    What is bloody certain is that Gabriel is Piss poor and shouldn’t even be wearing an Arsenal shirt.

  7. Kostafi says:

    Mustafi is a very good defender but this piece is clutching at straws imo. First of all, after the opening day disaster against Liverpool- Holding played away at Leicester with Koscielny and we kept a clean sheet. Second, although he was on the radar back then, Wenger later confirmed, he wasn’t actually fit so even if signed, he wont have played against Liverpool- we’ll never know. Third, we have only kept 2 clean sheets in the league with Mustafi and 3 overall.

    He is not the problem or the cure. Of late, Arsenal have eased up after going up a goal early on inviting pressure. It seems to happen every game now- maybe its energy conservation as it seemed against Everton or a counter-attacking game plan as it looked against City, we seemed intent on soaking up pressure.

    The other thing i have noticed is that our formation of 4411 without the ball does not hold up against midfield trios who are dominating possession. It was shaky against PSG in both games, at Old Trafford, at Everton and at the Etihad yesterday where Silva put a real Luka Mondric shift in as CM alongside Toure and Fernando allowing the front 3 freedom to roam and hurt us. We only had balance and better possession when El Neny came on alongside Xhaka unfortunately for the fans with 12 minutes to go.

    I am not suggesting El Neny is the solution- he’s prob off to the African Cup in Jan- I am saying the team balance has to be right in tough away fixtures.

    1. bran99 says:

      Or may be the manager can’t motivate his players.. always playing with his coat and sitting on his seat like a passenger. Pep was busy standing, trying to instill some instructions to his players all game.. Maurinho does the same, Klopp never sits.. only the most experienced manager relaxes on his seat waiting for a goal to celebrate or a goal to start shouting to the match officials.. and still can’t pay the right players what they deserve, if it was his pay rise I don’t think anyone would have stronger reasons as to why it shouldn’t be raised

  8. Ramterta says:

    And please stop talking about how beautiful our team plays.
    That was ages ago when we were entertaining to watch before van pursestrings left.
    Now we arecas boring as soaps to watch

  9. Twig says:

    High time to drop

  10. Godswill says:

    It is not only football that Mustafi brings to the team. That guy is a leader and a steel. He is not a weak player.
    Surprise that Gabriel has lost the steel we knew him for and to me, Holding is ahead of him.
    I like players that put on shift till they drop dead.
    We miss Mustafi. Bring back Cazorla to No 10 he played before Ozil’s arrival and let Ozil know that he can be benched. When is he supposed to turn up? It should be in games like this but he was a minus.

  11. Ozzy AFC says:

    Ozil was disinterested yesterday and frankly did little or nothing, Sanchez appeared to get fed up with being the only on eon the pitch in the second half who was trying to win any thing and he too drifted from focus. Its almost as if they shit themselves and backed off of city and as Ive already said there was None in the team who wants to own the responsibility when the chips are down everyone turns their backs and more or less says “its not down to me” “its not my responsibility” and Wenger who should be appointing a player to lead when we are up against it or at least chopping and changing formations ect and revitalising the side just rants at the ref and means about offside. The second Gaol was offside but that’s life now deal with it and get your team back to winning form again stop making excuses for yourself and the performance of the team

    1. bran99 says:

      the 2nd goal wasn’t offside, the offside player did not interfere with the play. I remember us scoring a goal and one of our player was infront of the GK and jumped away, but that goal stood. the man city 2nd goal was not even close to be offside

  12. Jansen says:

    Our losses had very little to do with Mustafi.

    Even Keown acknowledged that against Everton Gabriel played well and didn’t put a foot wrong.

    The big story for me is that in both losses we played one decent half and then folded. If it was all down to Mustafi we would have played consist over both halves.

    Both Koeman and Pep out managed Wenger at half-time. Wenger doesn’t manage during games. He doesn’t know how. He brings in a DM for Ox when trailing and 15 minutes left, whilst having Perez on the bench. He is a great guy who has done a lot for the club but he is no longer a great manager. It is time for him to move over and to bring a passionate manager in with knowledge of the modern game.

  13. HairyCustard says:

    Mustafi is a big miss, and manages to compensate for some of our defensive problems that our midfield is struggling to deal with. Yesterday we were missing Santi greatly – how many times did we try and play the ball from our own defence under pressure and got caught out? A ridiculous amount. If City were on better form we would have been destroyed. I cannot believe that at some point Wenger/even the players did not realise that we cannot do that effectively and successfully without Santi and we kept doing it? Bad tactics and management for the game in my opinion. Wenger has notoriously never really had a plan B and it has once again come back to bite us.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      We went with a different tactical approach for yesterdays game. Cech was instructed to go long almost every time, he only went short that time to Bellerin in the first half. We totally bypassed our own defenders, either defender with ball or the keeper would go long every time. When I was watching it I didn’t know what to make of it, Wenger totally abandoning his passing philosophy. We basically gave the ball to their defenders so we could force an error or quick counter attack. The problem was Alexis was the only one really trying, even when he was screaming at his teammates they just kept retreating, I thought it was almost funny seeing him direct Ozil to do similar.

      I bring this up because in the last post someone said, even if he’d try something different that would be something.

  14. Incarnate says:

    Alonso views passing as a creative art – proactive – compared to tackling as destructive and therefore reactive. He does not see tackling as a quality at all and when he has spoken about this in the past, his view has been met by criticism, particularly from English defenders. “I stick with my opinion. I know it is viewed differently in Britain. It’s not the action [of tackling]. It’s the idea: the cause and the consequence.

    “I love to tackle. But if I could avoid it, I think I have done better in my job. If I tackle, sliding across the floor, it means that I – or someone else – have been caught out of position at the start of the move and that drives me crazy because team shape and balance is crucial. At Bayern, this is what we practise all of the time: ‘shape, shape, shape’. If you spend too much time on the ground, it means your positioning is not so good.”

    Mustafi is constantly talking on the pitch to make sure our shape is maintained, Buffon makes an average of just 1. 5 saves per game, he is constantly talking to his outfielders in a bid to prevent the shots being taken in the first place, without mustafi on the pitch, we have no one else constantly charging at the rest to maintain shape and Balance, it ain’t about the spectacular saves or sliding tackles, it’s about proper positioning at all times. It was Cech, Koscielny and Xhaka, the so called leaders in the team who let us down badly on the pitch and Arsene for not providing practical leadership off it.

  15. Mark_K says:

    Until Mustafi comes back (and perhaps even after that point) Holding deserves a chance to play alongside Koscielny.

    Based on the little I’ve seen of Holding, he seems more assured than Gabriel.

    Once Mustafi comes back we also need to see if Holding and Mustafo can form a partnership, in case Koscielny needs a rest or gets injured.

    Mertesacker coming back will hopefully help as, despite his woeful lack of mobility, he is an organiser in defence and does fire up the players around him.

    Who knows, maybe Wenger would consider playing 3 at the back?

    Mustafi – Mertesacker/Holding – Koscielny

    It’s worked rather well for Chelsea and both Bellerin and Gibbs (not so much Monreal) would probably do quite well as wing backs.

  16. ozildatrequartista says:

    Let’s try and use facts or stats when making arguments for or against a player. Let’s not repeat what we read on blogs. Francis LeCoq has 89% pass success rate 79% of those being forward passes. In his best game (ludogorets) it rises to 93%. To just say how horrible a passer he is, is just lazy. His distribution is actually very decent.. not like Santi with his cross-fielders but really who can match Santi?

  17. marty53 says:

    Mustafi is a good player but him being out is not the reason we can’t hold on to leads. The problem seems to be that we go 1 up and then instead of going all out for the 2nd goal we stop playing and think that the game is won and start playing casually thereby losing momentum and when the other team score can’t raise our game again.

    Oh, and Ozil should start asserting himself on games and show people that he is a world class player and not just a showboater…

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