Shkodran Mustafi latest comments highlights the huge problem at Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi has been one of the most criticised players for Arsenal this season and it is hard to find many fans that have anything positive to say about the German defender and he has done himself no favours at all with his latest comments.

Mustafi stated the obvious saying that one mistake can be costly and that the defender’s job is to try and not concede goals but there was a tinge of feeling sorry for yourself with the rest of his comments.

“[The final] is going to be a game where one mistake punishes you and that’s why we’ve got to be very careful,” Mustafi said in a press conference.

“Our job as defenders is to try not to concede goals, but if you make 90 percent of your job and in the 10 percent the opponent scores a goal, people forget about the 90 percent

“The coach prefers that we make mistakes but still play our game instead of just playing anything so he cannot identify us with the game we were supposed to be playing.

“You want to finish the game knowing you did this, this, this and that is why you won the game. Rather than saying, ‘How the hell did we win that, because we were bad’

“That will not bring you consistency. You are not going to win without an identity and that was how we wanted to play.”

Where to start? OK, there is no point doing 90% of your job if you lose the game and concede goals and can anyone honestly say that the defence did 90% of their job against Everton, Wolves, Crystal Palace and Leicester City at the end of the season?

If the coach is ok with mistakes because you played your game right and can be identified then I have to ask, is the coach sending you out with the right tactics in the first place.

Now, of course, I understand what Musafi is trying to say there but results speak loudest of all and whatever identity Arsenal is looking for it certainly has yet to raise its head above the parapet.

The best teams are the ones that do win ugly, that does come off the field saying how the hell did we win that but Mustafi need not worry because this season when we have played badly, we lost. I am not sure there were that many occasions when the players came off the field thinking how did we win that, well, maybe against ten-man Watford.

Mustafi is right when he says you are not going to win without an identity but the thing is this, Arsenal have no identity right now and if he thinks the way they are playing making mistakes in defence is sticking to some sort of identity then maybe, just maybe, that is why the Arsenal defence has been so crap this season.

I have to say this, Mustafi’s latest comments have highlighted the huge problem at Arsenal this season, the players think they have an identity and are playing to that belief but they simply do not have an identity and that is why they finished fifth after an end of season collapse in the Premier League.


  1. He said it himself, only one fatal error can make all his effort in the field useless

    We can’t solely blame the defenders, because the players in front of them have to contribute in defending as well, starting from the attackers. At Barcelona, the attackers are the first defenders and vice versa

    I also agree we don’t have a fixed system currently, because we always change the formation and line-up. Hopefully we can sell our CAMs and get wingers in the summer, so we can start using 4-3-3

    1. Hopefully we only use 433 as a plan b. 352 is the way forward with a defensive midfielder box to box midfielder and an attacking midfielder in AMN bellerin and kolasinac we already have 3 good wing backs, all we need is another lwb. I think in torreira, Guendozi chambers bielik ESR and iwobi we already have a decent batch of midfielders, but I would sell mkhitaryan ozil and xhaka to bring in an experienced winger/forward to rotate with auba laca nelson and nketiah and an experienced central midfielder.

    2. @GotanIdea
      I agree! 4-3-3 is the way to go. Personally am tired of that boring, defensive 3-5-2 formation. Most of the top teams like City, Barca, Liverpool, Real, Juve and Bayern use 4-3-3 most of the time. We should at least try it!

      1. Arsenal will get killed playing 4-3-3 because we don’t have players in that middle 3

        1. Welp, maybe Ozil could play in the middle like Fabregas used to for Chelsea? Admittedly, Xhaka would have a heart attack if he had to rely on Ozil to cover his left or right in midfield ? Maybe you are right, our midfielders are too mediocre for 433. That puts us in a mess though, I can’t see us challenging Guardiola’s goal machine playing 5 defenders ☹

          1. And what makes you think Xhaka would even get into the side playing 433-And as for having heart attacks over Ozil’s defending just how many goals have we actually conceded that were directly down to Xhaka?The Player was a £35m mistake of the biggest order who has cost us so many points since he has been at Arsenal due to complete indiscipline and total lack of a football brain.Last game of season against Brighton says it all.
            But no it’s obviously Ozil who is defensively lacking in the whole squad is that right?
            Guendouzi will prove to be a waste of money.Torriera has gone backwards.Yet let’s all dig out Ozil shall we?
            And anyone who knows anything about football will realise no Coach or Manager would have Ozil anywhere near a midfield three.I wouldn’t and I would p,ay him every game.He is not a B2B midfielder and he is not a CDM.He is not a wide player we know.So if Ozil plays it’s behind two strikers or off a single striker.
            Hope that’s cleared things up for you unless of course you want to blame Ozil for all the utter crap performances of every defender this season and also for Lenos blunders.How about blaming Ozil for the penalty given for the foul on Kane by Mustafi at Wembley.Ozil wasn’t even playing but when so called football experts like you find it necessary to highlight Ozil’s lack of defending yet seem to feel Xhaka should be held as a shining light then your reasoning is obviously flawed and pointless.As usual in most posts you write to be fair so at least PAL you are consistent

  2. Mustafi is our biggest mistake he got no identity with Arsenal,we want players with and ready to die for Arsenal like Holding .

  3. Mustard is unfortunate to be everybody’s lightening rod. He has consistently had our best defensive numbers and is our top goal threat at set pieces. Yes ther are the occasional infuriating brain farts but Xhaka who has had more errors leading to goals in the whole of the premiership in the last 2 seasons (5nos) doesn’t get half the stick.

    I expect he’d not be sold but moved to RB with Bellerin (further away from the box) so M-Niles can move into midfield.

    1. Hahahahahaha,
      why is everybody reading too much about what Mustafi said. He’s just trying to be positive with himself, that doesn’t meant he’s staying. I think the way HE looks at the team sometimes when we are loosing tells you how frustrated he is with some of the players and Mustafi is the Premieré.

      I for one is happy that Kos is leaving, and if Mustaf stays at best he’ll be a bench player. I a positive that there will be major changes this summer and Sue, trust me you won’t need to watch from behind your sofa come Wednesday. You will be watching and wishing it never ends cos we are gonna pipe them Chels. I will remind you this on Thursday morning here. Have a good morning…

        1. Mustafi is Mustafi & we all know that brain fart is brewing! ?
          I’ll move the sofa out, just in case!! ?
          Thank you, Gogo….. you too!

          1. Sister Sue………………….I shall be watching the game from a DFS store as they have an amazing array of sofas to hide behind and they have a sale on aswell !

  4. Mustafi, Jenkinson and Lichtsteiner are defenders we need to get rid of.

    I hope none of them plays on Wednesday. Prefer Koscielny, Sokratis, Monreal as CBs and Niles RWB / Kolsanic LWB

    This summer We need to sign at least one quality CB and a RB.
    I’d prefer Bellerin as a RWB or RW. He’s not the best at defending

  5. The identity part was him telling fans that when you play the ball out from the back and press high up the pitch, you have to allow for a certain number of instances that put you straight on the back-foot. One lapse pass has our defenders out of position because they were positioned for attack, it’s not always a case of where the hell was he and why did they get through on goal so easy. I agree with a lot of what Mustafi said and I seen how somes sites twisted his words for a click grabbing headline. I was also surprised to see that our gk made more mistakes than anyone, I knew he made some but that is a tough position to get by in unscathed. Not sure how they rack up these errors leading to goals, I’d say it can be debatable. When they rack up chances teams create, it seems just having the ball in the last third is a chance, or within average shooting distance maybe. Mustafi, is he wrong to defend himself, he’s constantly taking it from all sides, we’ll see how it plays out as he might give us a giant Per Mertesacker cup performance.

  6. I don’t see what wrong Mustafi has committed. He is making a clarion call to all his teammates to stand up and be counted. Is that bad? Mustafi may not be the best defender but he tries his level best. On his day Mustafi has even scored some crucial goals. I don’t support Mustafi’s erratic performances but when he performs well I should give him all the encouragement. It is not correct to develop hatred for any of our players. We should criticise poor performances but we should avoid turning it personal. All players including the very best make mistakes once in a while. Like Unai Emery observed Mustafi is still a young man who is capable of improving his game. We should also not forget that he has been unfortunate with injuries. That aside, Mustafi made some good points which should not be ignored because they were made by him. Any sensible player would make such observations before an important game.

  7. If UCL,
    Sell Mustafi, Kolcieny, Monreal, Ozil, Mikhiterian, Xhaka & Welbz.
    Get Ziyech, Carrasco, Ceballos, Rabiot, Teirney & Konate

    Ziyech……………Auba……… Lacazette/Carrasco
    …………………… Torriera………………….
    Tierney… Holding…Konate.. Bellerin

    No UCL,
    Sell the above, get some talented youngstars around the world and rebuild with them: Raid Madrid & South America!


  8. Defending is a team activity and starts up front. Arsenal are poor at this. However, Mustafi has been guilty of some individual errors that cost us CL football. I know, in fairness, there are other individual errors that have cost us CL football. But Mustafi’s errors were not all because of the way the team plays but rather poor judgement on his behalf.

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