Shkodran Mustafi believes Arsenal will iron out their defensive hiccups and hopes the squad’s collective ‘big player’ mentality will help them implement Unai Emery’s new style of football.
It’s fair to say the Gunners defence has looked somewhat shaky at the back in our opening four games of the season with lapses in concentration contributing to the conceding of seven goals.
Set pieces – as was the case during Arsene Wenger’s era – continue to cause us problems, while the attempt to build play using Petr Cech and a new centre-back pairing has drawn more attention than usual to the technical limitations of certain players.
For all that, Mustafi remains bullish that Arsenal will get it right.
“It’s a process,” he told Arsenal Player. “We have tried everything in pre-season but then when you make a mistake in pre-season it’s not that bad.
“In the Premier League you don’t want to make those mistakes, but you have to show your personality because we are a big football club with big players.
“We have to show the personality that we can play from the back because that’s our football and that’s how it suits us to play.
“We just have to keep working on that. Hopefully, in a few games, we’re going to look a bit more comfortable.”
Mustafi was speaking after the 3-2 win against Cardiff, in which he opened the scoring with a bullet header from a Granit Xhaka corner. Like the midfielder, Mustafi is of Albanian heritage and he opted to celebrate his goal by making the sign of the Albanian double-headed eagle with his hands.
FIFA fined Granit Xhaka and Stephan Lichtsteiner for making the gesture during a match between Switzerland and Serbia at the World Cup (it was deemed politically inflammatory in light of tensions between ethnic Albanians and nationalist Serbs in Kosovo), however, the FA have confirmed that Mustafi will not face disciplinary action.