The dilemma that a rejuvenated Shkodran Mustafi has placed on Mikel Arteta

Shkodran Mustafi has presented Mikel Arteta with a selection headache.

Shkodran Mustafi has really turned a corner. The German has moved from being arguably the most-ridiculed player to become one of the first names on Mikel Arteta’s team sheet.

Mustafi has become so important that when he limped off against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, fans were worried about missing him.

Mikel Arteta also showed how much he trusted the German when he threw him straight back into action against Burnley after recovering well from the knock against the Cherries.

Mustafi’s upturn in form has come at the same time as the arrival of Pablo Mari and I believe that he has now given Arteta a dilemma to think about.

The Spaniard had signed Mari because he needed to get a left-sided centre back and partly because the likes of Mustafi had previously been underperforming.

If Mari trains well in Dubai and adapts to the Spaniard’s tactics then you have to think that the on-loan former Manchester City defender will be in serious contention for a first-team start against Newcastle United on the 16th of this month.

In the event that Mari is confirmed as a starter, who should partner the 26-year-old?

Most people would consider David Luiz the obvious choice to partner Mari at the back, some will argue for Sokratis or even Rob Holding, however, I believe going with any of them would be harsh on Mustafi based on his recent form.

The German had adapted well to the demands of Arteta and I think he deserves to be given a chance to play alongside Mari.

An article from Ime


  1. As it stands Mustafi, Marí and Luiz are our current In-Form Center Backs so any combination of the inside the 3 of them will be stable.

    I personally will go for Mari and Mustafi against Newcastle for a trial whoever performs best between them retains his starting spot.

    1. Mari has not even kicked a ball for us yet, and you are already considering him in-form over the likes of Sokratis?

  2. In the epl, having a goalkeeper or a defender that has height is a huge advantage. So mari, if fit should always start. I still think leno’s height in Chelsea’s equaliser at the Emirates played a huge role in that goal

  3. The quality of our three senior centre backs leaves much to be desired but based on recent matches Mustafi deserves his place.In the longer term I would hope Holding and Mari could form a decent pairing and provide competition for Saliba next season.

  4. Arteta needs to stop using this same line and make the line-up more attacking with 5 attacking players and 5 defensive players in a 4-1-4-1 or 4-3-3 formation with only one defensive midfielder. I used to think when he comes in, he would follow the Guardiola model but he is lining up the same players Emery used and the result is still the same only that we now concede less goals than before. He should be brave and play proper attacking football otherwise these constant draws will begin to make the fans and the players wary and start losing games.

  5. Ime, On the evidence of one good and rare mistake free game plus the last hour at Chelsea, having first made his usual costly error, you believe he is our most in form CB! THE MIND BOGGLES AT HOW YOU REASON THINGS. I SAY HE IS AS BAD AS SOKRATIS, WHO IS A JOKE ON LEGS AND WHO SHOULD BE IN THE WRESTLING RING WHERE HE SEEMS TO HAVE ALL THE SKILLS NEEDED. As for Luiz, he offers no more reliability but he can pass and is taller, so that helps in the air. I long for the blessed day when all three are gone. But for now, I would play Luiz with MARI, ASSUMING HE RETURNS MATCH SHARP AND FIT FROM DUBAI, having had time to acclimatise with his teammates under MA’s inspired coaching. If it came down to a choice between Mustafi and Sokratis though, I prefer my deceased Aunt Gladys to both!

    1. I make Ime 100% right and have said in previous articles that Mustafi was the best player at the end of last season. Do not let your dislike of the player Jon cloud your judgement.

      1. Pray tell me and all other Gooners on here Martin, exactly WHY it is that I dislike Mustafi. I have nothing aginst Germans , or men who have beards. Could it be , do you think, that I have loads against constant mistake ridden, dreadful quality, so called CB’s, constantly harmiing our team? And do not kid yourself that Mustafi is alone in my dislike of all players who constantly harm Arsenal. We fans support our team, naturally, and want them to win, again naturally. So why on earth would any sensible fan support ANY player who almost always helps to prevent us winning? Please explain, so that we can all benefit from your wisdom Martin.

        1. Sure Jon seeing as you asked in such a pleasant non-sarcastic manner. You are allowing your dislike of him as a player to cloud your judgement on his recent improvement. But I have already said that, not sure what is so confusing. No one is saying he has not been a huge liability or that he will not be in the future but to suggest he has not improved or is not our best central defender on current form is misguided in my opinion.

  6. Obviously dependent on how things go in the winter sunshine break but I think Arteta will start Mustafi and Mari against Newcastle.

  7. Mustaffi is mustaffi and always will be, erratic. He is a good back up that is all. Our center backs are a motley crew and people are talking about mari as if he will slot right in straight away. He has never ever played a prem game, im afraid we haven’t got a scooby as to wether he is a decent performer or not. We should and are looking better at the back than we were but that is down to our midfield actually playing in front of the defence and providing a shield because they are being less keen to wander off down the pitch at the wrong moment.

  8. Mustaffi should not be played like ozil or the Chelsea reject they are rash players who can get sent off we can’t afford to allow these players to carry on what they are ruining our club they couldn’t defend a toffee apple come on arteta learn from pep instead your doing as bad as emery stuck in a rut and the same boring formation

  9. I will prefer Mari is tested in cup competion or Europa before he is trusted into premier league games. He is yet to kick a ball since December. For now, I will go with Luize & Mustaphy for New Castle game. While Mari observe from the bench on a substitute list. He should not be rushed into premier league games.

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