Has Shkodran Mustafi done enough to be considered an automatic starter?

Shkodran Mustafi continues to impress in the Arsenal defence.

There was a time when Arsenal fans would have gladly seen Shkodran Mustafi sold for no more than a £1, however, it cannot be denied that he has found a rich vein of form recently.

No Arsenal player has been as maligned as Mustafi, not Mesut Ozil, not Granit Xhaka, not David Luis and not Alexandre Lacazette, in fact, he was once branded the second-worst defender on the planet.

Despite all the vitriol thrown his way he never threw his dummy out of the pram, never turned on the fans, he got his head down and just got on with it.

He was even told by former manager Unai Emery to find himself a new club, that is how far he had fallen.

Now, the German is arguably the best central defender, based on form, that Arsenal has on its book and there is an argument that he should be an automatic starter.

The thing is this, he is always one pass or tackle away from a howler, his great game against Chelsea came about after his mistake that led to Luiz getting sent off and Arsenal conceding a penalty to go one goal down.

Just yesterday, in the first half, he passed to ball directly to a Newcastle player, he and Arsenal was fortunate that did not lead to a goal.

So, he has some luck on his side for sure but his overall performances have been solid since Mikel Arteta took over and what are the alternatives right now?

Calum Chambers is long term injured, Rob Holding has been inconsistent since his return from injury, David Luiz is as bad as Mustafi for mistakes, Pablo Mari is unproven in the Premier League and Sokratis is not always a model of consistency either.

Based on pure form it is hard to see how Mikel Arteta can drop him and therefore, by definition, that makes him an automatic starter.

So, in conclusion, whether we like it or not, it is my opinion that yes, Mustafi should be considered an automatic starter.

8 Comments

  1. Grandad says:

    An automatic starter refers to a top quality player who is considered indispensable by his team Manager.With respect,Mustafi does not fall into either category.To be fair to him he has played fairly well recently and there is little doubt that he is one player who has improved under Arteta.. His attitude and fighting spirit have never been in doubt but he will never be a high quality centre back.

    1. SueP says:

      You are so right but with the financial restraints Arsenal operate under even Mustafi playing just competently is an automatic starter at Arsenal. In a top team that is a different matter

  2. Tbest says:

    So what are you saying, if he is now t a starter, then who should start?

  3. RSH says:

    Absoultely not. Such an error prone player should never be a starter. We all know the next game he could drop a stinker and get somebody else sent off. How many times are we going to go through this pattern with Mustafi. He can put in good performances no doubt, but his horrible habit of just throwing away points for no reason means he has to go.

  4. ThirdManJW says:

    Not in a million years! Why have some Arsenal fans always got such bad memories? Have they already forgotten Mustafi’s 2 huge blunders in both games against Chelsea very recently?

    He’s just as bad as he’s always been.

  5. gunnerforlife says:

    If Mustafi shows definite signs of improvement under MA and significantly lowers his mistakes, Arsenal should definitely start him in important matches. A player can be low on form and confidence but if he is willing to learn and improve than the Club and the Manager should definitely support him.

  6. Siamois says:

    ADM Martin,few days ago I disagreed with you over Saliba being sold,I just read that during his visit to colney while injured, Arteta had a positive chat with Saliba about what he expects from him next season do it looks like he won’t be sold and he’s in MA plans for next season which is a good thing looking at his performances for a struggling side in at ST Etienne,arsenal are looking after him,he already knows his teammates and with a full pre season I am optimistic,

  7. Tony says:

    Mustafi will always be Mustafi.

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