Premier League: 3 Reasons Why Arsenal Must Get Rid of Shkodran Mustafi Next Season
Spurs' defeat to Manchester City on Saturday was to Arsenal's advantage, who could have opened a two-point lead over their North London rivals with 69 points in 34 games. That was not to be as a dismal performance by Arsenal's defenders, especially central defender Shkodran Mustafi, handed Palace the three points.
The German was at fault for two of Palace's three goals on Sunday, nullifying all the good work of the Arsenal attackers Alexandre Lacazette, Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Although Arsenal boss Unai Emery refused to blame Mustafi for the loss, soon after the match, Arsenal fans expectedly called for the ouster of Mustafi, pointing out that the 27-year-old's display has been poor throughout the season.
One could argue that Arsenal can afford a better defender in place of Mustafi, whose £90,000 per week has come into question following the defeat.
Here are 3 reasons why we think Arsenal should get rid of Mustafi the liability in the upcoming Summer Transfer Window.
#3 Mustafi Doesn't Suit Emery's Style of Play at Arsenal
Emery adopts a system where all the players build play patiently from the back when not counter-attacking and move as a unit towards the opposition box.
In this system, Emery expects even the goalkeeper to contribute, which is why he roped in Bernd Leno and prefers him to the ageing Petr Cech.
While Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos have taken to the role quite well, Mustafi still seems to be struggling to come in terms with the expectations of the coach.
A central defender's contribution to the attack under Emery involves venturing forward for set-pieces and winning aerial duels. One of Mustafi's biggest strengths is his supremacy in the air but the German has returned just three goals (two in the Premier League) in 34 appearances this season. Even against Palace, Mustafi had an easy opportunity at the far post in the 27th minute when Arsenal were 1-0 down but he headed it over the bar.
Mustafi has looked nervous throughout the season whenever the defensive midfielder plays the ball back to him. That apart, he isn't really confident while spreading the play from the defensive third to the midfielders.
Once or twice is understandable, but the pattern is clear. Arsenal banked on Mustafi to deliver when Koscielny was injured in the first half of the season and when the stakes are high, like now, Mustafi has flattered to deceive.
This quite isn't the case with the other players, which is why Arsenal should seriously consider their options next season.