Mustafi reveals why Arsenal players stagnated in last few years

Mustafi reveals the factor responsible for Players’ Development or Deterioration by Akinnubi

What really makes a player develop into the best version of himself? And what makes a player deteriorate to his worst version? Some will say its Motivation, Hard Work and determination to be the best (C. Ronaldo?) but our German defender has another answer to the question.

Speaking this week, Arsenal’s no.20 said: “Competition is something that brings you to the next level, because if you have no competition and you know you are starting week in, week out, it takes a little bit of the quality [away]. When you know you have someone standing on your toes, you are going to try and be better and better every week.”

The statement is one which is quite agreeable but has it really been evident in this team over the years? No.

Take last season for example, the first XI players are listed first while their competitor(s) are in brackets:

Cech (Ospina)
Bellerin (Debuchy)
Mustafi (Holding)
Koscielny (Chambers)
Monreal (Kolasinac)
Xhaka (M. Elneny)
Ramsey (AMN)
Ozil (Wilshere)
Welbeck (Iwobi)
Mhkitaryan (Nelson)
Aubameyang (Lacazette)

Looking at this squad, we’d note that the ‘competitors’ are not really players who will oust the first team players (except maybe a couple of players) and as evident last season, only injuries, suspension, ineligibility (Auba) and when players are being rested, are the only factors that changed the starting line up. Like Mustafi said, our crop of players cannot be said to have the Ronaldo mentality (even though his place is not up for grabs he still pushes himself to be better) and so knowing their status in the first team is secured, then they might say to themselves: “there’s nothing to fight for” which simply isn’t true.

Even though the competition for places isn’t fierce, I hope Emery can get rid of this mentality in the squad (cos it’s obviously there, these players haven’t been fighting for their positions in the first XI) and tell them there are reasons to turn up every match and give 100% to the team. Judging by this squad’s quality, we can’t bench eight or seven first team players (like fans are calling for) but the coach can raise their level, motivate them, tell them they can be better – and replace those who aren’t ready to put in the effort.




  1. Asad Ahmed Ansari says:

    I dont know why all the players want to be a philosopher and football expert, he should shut the crap and focus on his game… These statements of wisdom look good when you are performing on the pitch.. I would have cut down all the media talk and spent all the time in the training…

    1. barryglik says:

      Manages and players in
      almost all sports rarely
      say anything “revealing”
      They are trained to talk but actually say nothing at all.
      Arsene Wenger gave 5,000 interviews while at Arsenal
      but never said any thing we did not already know.
      However NFL players are even worse as the only thing they ever say is
      “we are practicing every day to get better”.
      So when an article includes “reveals” it draws you in because
      it sounds like some big secret is coming out but in reality
      he will not tell you any thing which you don’t already know.
      So Mustafi says competition sharpens players. Really?
      That’s amazing I never knew that 🙁
      Next he will tell us that winning more matches
      will mean more points on the table 🙁

      1. Asad Ahmed Ansari says:

        Exactly, hahah… Unless you have Mourinho as your manager you can’t expect something interesting coming out..

  2. gotanidea says:

    Agree, Akinnubi. Based on your list, the internal competition level was low, but Emery is trying to change that by subbing bad players like Ozil and Xhaka earlier

    Emery’s actions showed that he doesn’t care about the player’s status

    I think he would still give another chance to the senior players in West Ham game and I’m excited to see how the bad players would react

  3. Phil says:

    I thought professional sportsmen should be giving 100% in every game they play.
    Perhaps they feel that they are not paid enough to expect to do this.Can you ever recall Martin Keown never giving 100%?Or Tony Adams?Nigel Winterburn?Frank Mclintock?
    Or am I missing something?

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Couldn’t have put it better, Phil. Overaid prima donnas, who need to be brought back to earth by Unai Emery.
      I also agree with Asad that too many of the current squad, should spend less time on social media and more time on the training field improing their fitness levels and honing their skills.

      1. ozziegunner says:


  4. Durand says:

    It’s also favoritism without Mustafi coming right out and saying such. Read players were shocked Ramsey benched for Chelsea match. Emery, his coaches, and fans not shocked Ramsey started on bench.

    Very refreshing that when players are pants they are held accountable. Emery can’t bench everyone at same time, but I think against West Ham Xhaka and Bellerin get benched, maybe Auba or Ozil as well.

    Lichtsteiner should get a chance, and maybe Welbeck too; Welbeck will work hard for 90 minutes which Emery obviously wants.

    1. Phil says:

      Durand-when Leicester won the Premiership they combined teamwork and hard graft to get the ball to their front players to cause the damage.That is the blueprint for any side to succeed.Barcelona were the epitome of this and Citeh under Pep seem to have taken this to an even higher level.
      This I believe is what Emery is attempting to instil in our players.We had far superior players to Leicester and were the only side to beat them twice in their title winning season.But Raniery gave them belief and a settled system which proved successful that season.
      The players must take responsibility when on the pitch and trust the process.If it worked for Leicester there is no reason it will not work for us.There has been positive signs in both games that we are slowly coming to terms with Emery’s way of playing.We will improve if we keep working hard on the training ground AND on match days.

    2. RSH says:

      no chance Auba get’s benched. benching your striker after 1 miss kills their confidence. Auba hasnt been an underperformer for ages like others have.

      1. Phil says:

        I guarantee Ozil isn’t benched either.On paper WHU at home is an easier game.Emery must play Lacazette Aubamayang Mykitarian Ozil Torreira Guendoizi in this game.Ramsey can sit on the bench forever as far as I’m concerned.If he won’t sign then let him sit the season out

        1. GunnerJack says:

          I wouldn’t really want him to be on the bench, taking up the place of a decent player who actually WANTS to play for Arsenal. Just tell him to stay home on matchdays and watch the game on tv so his poisonous attitude cannot spread.

          1. Phil says:

            So you believe Ozil doesn’t want to play for Arsenal?And he has a poisonous attitude as well?I can tell you Mesit Ozil will be feeling that he hasn’t performed and he needs to work hard to fit into Emery’s system.This is a talented player who will be feeling it more than you and I could imagine

          2. GunnerJack says:

            I was responding to your sentence ‘Ramsey can sit on the bench forever as far as I’m concerned.’
            Ozil is fine by me.

    3. Kilted Gooner says:

      I think given the opposition the last 2 weeks Emery may give the guys mentioned one last chance against one of the “lesser teams” this week.

      Any one of them that under performs this week however, could see themselves on the bench for the foreseeable future…

  5. BASH says:

    Mustafi, i don’t like story from a lazy dog, can someone pls help me inform him that, he is the problem of Arsenal? see them, mustafi, ozil, belerin, Ramsey and chech what a shame

  6. Sean Williams says:

    I remember watching the back four of Winterburn, Adams, Keown and Lee Dixon. They would have died for the cause. So many Arsenal players of the past gave their soul for the club. Not just Englishmen, not just Londoners. Who would have not noticed that Viera, Gilberto, Toure, Lauren, etc etc were giving everything for the cause. Of course we had players like Nasri who would have sold his soul to the devil for enough dosh. Now when I watch players like Ozil head down dejected, Xhaka strolling like a Sunday afternoon walk, Mustafi who looks like he doesn’t know where he is, Cech who is scared to kick the ball and Bellerin who forgets he is a defender. The truth is we are not good enough, that’s the reality check. We have some poor minded players. The only players who give their heart every week are Monreal and Guendouzi. Yes a nineteen year old kid giving everything. How do you deal with an Ozil……drop him, drop them. Why should they have a sense of entitlement?
    But there is in honesty an even deeper problem. Greedy Stan Kroenke did not invest in top upgrades and is a disgrace of an owner. Shame on him for allowing second rate players to play for this great club. He is the real problem and most supporters know that. So he is the man to get out. Greedy Stan is Arsenal’s downfall.

    1. jon fox says:

      What a wonderful and comprehensively true post!

      1. ken1945 says:

        Sean, two points from your observations that made me want to debate on.
        When you mentioned the likes of Vieria and therefore the Invincibles, they were all inspired by Wenger and his visionary leadership.
        So my first thought is… where and why did Wenger lose that ability?
        The last two years were the catalyst (for me personally) when the change was really noticeable, both by the manager and the players.
        It seemed as if the heart and soul had gone from the club and no one can seem to explain why!
        Of course the owner and board are the one consistent factor that springs to mind, but that doesn’t explain to me, anyway, why Wenger lost (again in my opinion) the support of the fans, players, board and owner.
        Could it be that Arsene had finally run out of personal ambition and drive?
        With Emery I can see the passion and desire to confront the issues that might stop him from being successful and, just like the old Wenger, is prepared to act (Merson as an example).
        I only hope that Emery does not get bogged down with the issues that bedevilled Wenger’s last few years, for example the Ramsey’s/Sanchez near identical situation.
        Was it this side of Wenger’s decision-making that finally took its toll?
        I don’t believe in the thoughts that it was Wenger wanting complete control that was the issue either.
        Why would Kronkie, a successful businessman, hand over his cash cow investment to one man? But that’s just my opinion of course.

        Secondly, Kronkie and his role.
        Hindsight is a wonderful thing in every situation throughout life.
        The decision to bar Usmanov from the board was a calculated decision taken to ensure Kronkie would one day be in the position he now finds himself in.
        The board completely sold our club out when they, firstly, sold him their shares, then passed the agreement that banned Usmanov from any say in the way the club was to be run.
        He has not progressed the club in any way whatsoever, either by personal investment, promoting the club via his world wide contacts or even attending matches.
        He has the opportunity to link his American interests in the same way that Spuds have done with their new ground, by fostering further interest in the brand ARSENAL with American football.
        He has the personal wealth, let alone the club’s profits, to give Emery (and previously Wenger) the money to compete with any club including City.
        He has chosen not to and I cannot see any way that any of the above will change.
        All these are my personal opinions and views and I can only say that this owner has been the most destructive person to ever become involved with our club in its entire history.

        1. jon fox says:

          Nice post and an interesting question you pose as to why WeNGER CHANGED SO MUCH FROM HIS GLORY YEARS. I just think he became comfortable . He had virtually complete power and I think he became enamoured andobsessed to keep with that power as so many Prime Ministers do over many decades. I don’t think his personal wage was THAT much of a reason, but just the knowing he was in charge of everything, team wise and football wise. This was always an unhealthy situaion for th club to allow. I totally concur with your Kroenke comments and doubt any fan would much differ. HE IS A SHAM AND JUST DOES NOT CARE about anything other than money and personal wealth and power/ control. Hence his collecting of sports clubs. To me, he represents everything bad about mankind, short of violent crime and terrorism. POWER ALSO CORRUPTED WENGER BUT IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY. HE COULD NOT BEAR CONFRONTATION AND TO BE QUESTIONED OR HELD TO ACCOUNT. I FIRMLY BELIEVE HE SHOULD HAVE RESIGNED MANY YEARS BEFORE HE LEFT. OR BETTER STILL A CARING AND ASTUTE CEO AND OWNER WOULD HAVE SACKED HIM. His negligence over several years has left a long term damage to our short term future and it will be extremely difficult to change EVERYTHING from his time, which IS necessary. I must be honest and say I bear him some bitter resentment , even though I wish him well in whatever he now does. OUR REAL BATTLE, IF WE EVER INTEND TO REGAIN TOP STATUS IS TO OUST KROENKE. There is a “nuclear weapon” that would work, but it is a long term near 100% boycott of matches and all merchandise. Sadly for us, I do not see this happening . Not in a metropolitan world city like London with many tourists and fair weather fans, as all clubs now have. I am resigned to never again seeing us win the title in my lifetime (or in yours either), though I hope we both live for a long time to come. KROENKE IS THE SWORN ENEMY OF ARSENAL AND I WILL BE HONEST AND SAY I WISH HIM DEAD. I REFUSE TO BE A POLITICALLY CORRECT HYPOCRITE ON THIS MATTER.

  7. Tat says:

    Damn… so many players now try to kiss ass to new manager and be like I improve so much more!! Like wth…. we are at 0 points. Maybe they should focus on winning some games first??

  8. Grandad says:

    It’s ironic to learn this earth shattering news from a player who ought to have been shown the exit after his mediocre performances last season.His failure to cope with Morata on Saturday last does not suggest he will improve so hopefully young Mav will be given an opportunity to prove a point shortly.

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