Shkodran Mustafi has revealed how Mikel Arteta has changed Arsenal’s preparation for matches, by instigating a clear plan for each opponent.
The German had become a scapegoat for criticism prior to the Spaniard’s arrival as coach, but has returned to being a key player when fit, and looks set for an extended run in the first-team once again, having regained fitness just before David Luiz and Rob Holding fell foul of injury.
Mustafi looks set to start tonight against Dundalk, and has given an insight into how the manager works behind the scenes, and how much work he does in training on the opposition.
“From day one, everyone believed in what he was trying to put on the pitch, how he wanted his team to play,” Mustafi said in the pre-match press conference (via Arsenal’s official site).
“I think it made it easier for every single one of us because when you know what you have to do, when you know exactly what’s going on on the pitch and how you have to play your part to make the team strong, it’s what helps the most.
“I went on the pitch and I knew exactly what I had to do, I knew exactly what the coach wants from me and this made a lot of things easier.
“I have to say, I have never had such detailed training sessions. We are working in great detail about everything. Of course, we try to do our football first but then we analyse the next opponent and see where we can defeat the opponents with our strength.
“He always has an idea of how he wants to play the next game and not every game is the same. He analyses the team so well that when we go to the training pitch, he knows exactly what he wants to do, what we have to train to then be prepared for the weekend.
“That’s the positive thing, when you go into the game you have that picture that you had in the training session, you have the same picture in the game and that helps you a lot.”
The defender was linked with a move away from the club this summer, but after his resurgence under Arteta it should have been no shock that he stayed, and Holding or Luiz may well struggle to displace him should he return to the form of last season.
Do Arsenal put too much preparation into the opposition, and possibly need to work on their own strengths some more?