Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi had a rough day at work after his mistakes proved costly which saw Crystal Palace edge the Gunners 3-2 at the Emirates on Sunday and put an end to their 10-match winning streak at home. The defender has been criticised by fans and pundits and this is not the first time that the German has made a few errors.
Making a total of seven changes to his playing XI from the visit to Napoli, Emery’s tactics were once again thrown out of the window which also saw Mustafi fault in two goals for Palace. The defender’s has been coming under fire for his performances for a while now.
However, despite the loss to Palace, coach Unai Emery backed the defender citing his man of the match performance against Watford where Arsenal came out on top through a 1-0 win.
The 27-year old joined the Gunners in 2016 from Valencia for a transfer fee of 35 Million Pounds and has a split opinion since then, but the coach feels that Mustafi has the quality.
“I want to protect the players,” Arsenal boss Emery said ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Wolves. “Mustafi is a very good player, a very good centre-back. He has the habit of doing a tackle and going to ground, using his anticipation against the opposition.
“For example, against Watford, he was the best of all the players, he won all the balls in the air with his head and that is a very good statistic for him. On Sunday against Christian Benteke it is more difficult to win every ball in the air but it was 50-50.”
Emery has made a few changes since taking charge as he has often switched from three to four defenders and believes that it suits Mustafi’s style of play. Stepping into the massive shoes left by former coach Arsene Wenger, Emery is still getting a hang of the Premier Leahue. However, Emery does have a chance to bring a piece of silverware to the Emirates and that is by winning the Europa League.
The Gunners are currently in the semifinals of the tournament and will face Spanish club Valencia. In the other semifinals of the tournament, Arsenal rivals Chelsea face German club Frankfurt. It is expected to be an all English showdown in the finals.
Arsenal are currently fifth on the table and a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot.