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.