Thursday, April 25, 2024

Mustafi shrugs off defensive criticism, focuses on Europa League final win

Shkodran Mustafi says that he doesn’t feel bothered by criticism of Arsenal’s defence, insisting that the players at the back do a good job most of the time, and is instead fully focused on helping the club win the Europa League on Wednesday.

The German has had a torrid season at times, and overall the team has not been defensively sound – conceding 51 goals in the Premier League, the same as last season which was one of our worst on record.

Unai Emery hasn’t managed to make significant improvements back there, but Mustafi feels that people remember the mistakes defenders make more, whereas forwards can make up for a missed chance with another opportunity later in the game.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Chelsea in Baku, the 27 year old said, “For me personally it’s not getting to me. Our job as defenders is of course, to try not to concede goals. If you make 90 per cent of your job and the 10 per cent your opponent scores a goal, people forget about the 90 per cent.

“At the end of the season if you make 70 points it’s for a reason, so I don’t think if the back is not doing its job you don’t make 90 per cent, because if you go into the game without the defence and only with attacking players I’m not sure you make 70 points.

“If a striker misses a goal, a penalty or whatever you get a new opportunity five minutes or 10 minutes later.

“For us as a defender, if you make one mistake and they score, you don’t have the opportunity even five minutes later and you save something on the line, people won’t talk about it.

“You get live and learn with it. It’s part of our job.”

Mustafi says that Emery’s style is perhaps part of the reason things have been so porous at the back.

“The coach prefers that we make mistakes but still play our game instead of just playing something and we cannot identify with the game we want to play,” he continued.

“At the end of the day, you want to finish a game knowing we’ve done this, this and this and that’s why we won, not how did we win that game because we were bad but we won, because that’s not going to be consistent.

“When you count all the games at the end of the season, you are not going to get away with just playing and hoping you are going to win if you don’t have an identity.

“That was our identity, we want to play, we wanted to press up high and we wanted to score goals.

“Obviously we wanted to not let other teams score goals, but as well it is a football game and other teams want to score as well.”

However, there is the chance to finish the season with a flourish, and a first European trophy in 25 years.

“We are going to go there and try and win this game and then after of course it would be nice to playing in the Champions League,” he said.

“First of all, we are happy to be in the final and we are going to give everything to win it.”

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Well…..Mustafi, the thing is……..never mind!

Arse City Blues

I thought he was a bit dim, but fucking hell, this kind of thing really doesn’t help his cause with the fans (or management hopefully!). I’ve played with players like him who refuse to acknowledge their mistakes and man, it is one of the most frustrating things. I kind of admire his hard-nosed way of shrugging his mistakes off and getting over it instantly, but that’s as far as my positivity about him as a footballer and his character will go. I hope we can get someone who just does their job without us having to discuss him every fecking… Read more »

Arse City Blues

Beilik, Holding, Sok, Kos, chambers, Mav, Monreal, Medley – is that enough? Beilik looks great, with him/Holding playing alongside Kos/Sok, we could have a nice balance of potential and experience.. Medley and Mav for League Cup and early FA cup games? Can’t see us buying an amazing CB alongside all the other areas we need to improve upon.


If Boateng is available we should get him as a stop gap while out younger CBs develop. At 30yrs he still has 3-4 good years left. Mustafi out, Boateng in


Boateng was fantastic, but all things must pass. It would be another Lichtsteiner. Buy Umititi.


Sokrates is very, very good (his card collection is somewhat unfair, but maybe his pickpocket looks doesn’t help him).

But he is the only one really playing on the necessary level. Arsenal should invest heavily in a new defender.


He actually didn’t say that he hadn’t made a mistake if you read it again without your anti-Mustafi glasses on! Having said that, I hope he doesn’t start on Wednesday.

A Different George

I think everything he said was right BUT–.

BUT, he makes too many of really calamitous mistakes. He is usually a much better defender than most Arsenal supporters are willing to acknowledge, but “usually” has too many exceptions.


90% all well and good, as long as opposition is at 89%. Which is about 10% of the time.


If I did 90% of my job, I’d get fired…. and I don’t make £100k a week.


Stafi has just ruined my week with this harrowing interview.

Faisal Narrage

In typical Mustafi fashion, zero acknowledgement of wrong doing or owning up to it and instead quick to identify the blame somewhere else rather than at himself (it’s the coaches style, rather than his mistakes).

Would be honourable to at least own up, admit mistakes and plan to improve them, but nope, that’s not Mustafi.


Reminds me of the old adage, “better to remain silent and be thought an incompetent fool, than to open your mouth and be thought of as an incompetent fool who points fingers and throws his boss and mates under the bus”

A Different George

I don’t read him as refusing to acknowledge mistakes, but as saying something like: “Of course I make mistakes, as all defenders do. We make more mistakes than defenders who play conservatively, but that is the style we are trying to play. We’ve done pretty well as you can see from our point total.”

I disagree with the last part.


This doesn’t bode well for Wednesday, does it?
What planet is he on? “You make a mistake, they score, save one off the line, they won’t talk about it”
Oh my!! Trust me, I’m STILL talking about your mistake which allowed Zaha to score!!

Kartik Iyer

What he is saying is not wrong at all. Defenders do have a difficult job and they must be switched on throughout the game and can’t make a mistake or they’ll concede. But it’s not impossible to do that, other teams do it consistently. So it’s not really unfair to expect our defence to do the same.

That’s what separates an average defence from a top class one…. consistency.

Arsenala Vista Baby

Mustafi is quite consistent in doing the “Things To Do Today, by Mustafi” routine


Dont worry Mustafi….. we dont forget. Hope he plays an absolute blinder on Wednesday……. and then never blots our team sheet ever again.


Hope he doesn’t play


Felt like watching mustafi making his typical dumb errors on the pitch while reading…ha ha this is hilarious!


the problem with you Mustafi is that you do 90% mistakes and 10% a decent job. 51 goals is not small feat. Look at all the other top clubs in the top leagues. You are basically saying you are like them. Please you wanna live and let live? THEN LEAVE ARSENAL. THANKS ALOT.


This is the level of mediocrity thinking that we need to get rid of. Period.


I agree with you.


He speaks like he defends; there may be some semblance of logic in there somewhere, but then he Mustafi’s the delivery and the plot is lost…

Hank Scoprio

Well that’s filled me with confidence. I wasn’t going to watch the game for fear of total self-destruction in the first few minutes of the game. Now I’m feeling positive, especially about our defending.


I thought I detected a hint of sarcasm in your comment … have an upvote.


I’d say, more a dollop than a hint mate.

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

At the time i write this, For all the talks, i am surprised not to see santori here


Santori is always here

Diving In

The trouble is 10% of the time Mustafi is terrible all of the time. He interviews as badly as he defends.

John C

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s the time, place and frequency that separates the great from the good and the good from the bad.

The top defenders have an ability to evaluate the odds of both the success of their actions and consequences if they get it wrong.

Arsenala Vista Baby

Can someone paste this comment at his Twitter page so that he can read and have a clue

Tommy Gunner

The man is just so unlikeable! Add in the fact that he is also a complete liability and you have someone who will go down as one of the most unpopular players to ever wear the shirt


Hopefully Wednesday will be his last game in an Arsenal shirt.


Hopefully he’s already played his last game in an Arsenal shirt




Thing is Mr Mustafi flappi wappi, it’s easy for you to say that when 99% of our defensive mistakes have come from you sir! Grab your mate Ozil and get out of Arsenal, let holding and bielik take over.


Mr Mathstafi at it again folks!

Dark Hei

I am a pretty good baker; we really pulled good sales for 2 weeks.

And then the oven suddenly exploded. I don’t know why man, it is not my fault because 90% of the time these ovens work great.

Arsenala Vista Baby

U should sell the oven to Milan or back to Valencia because u need a 100% working oven to run a business.


Mustafi’s comment that 90% of thevtime, the defence is good is bewildering.

This reminds me so much of the Chris Morris sketch on The Day Today about the night time swimming attendant:
“This swimming pool has been open for 40 years.
In 1975 – no deaths.
In 1976 – no deaths.
In 1977 – no deaths.
In 1978 – no deaths.
In 1979 – no deaths.
In 1980…….. somebody died”.

Andy Mack

If this interview (and his response obviously!) had been after the Baku game then I’d be a bit p155ed at him, but in he run up to the game I’m pleased he’s sounding confident and not letting mistakes effect him. He can reflect properly on his performances during the off season.
The most annoying thing about him is that we know he can be excellent (he’s had a few man of the match games for us) but he’s so so inconsistent, which is not what anyone needs from a defender and it’s a nightmare for the coaching staff…

Arsenala Vista Baby

Thank u for trying so hard to look from the brightest side, but no. Most Tappy 90% or Most Toughy 10% doesn’t matter anymore.


Now I’m starting to think he’s just stupid. Unintelligent. That may be answer to why he never learn from his mistakes, why he never realise what he’s doing wrong, or that it’s him who has done something wrong… To think that he’s the reason why Gabriel was only given one season before being sold, why Chambers was sent on loan twice when he should have been given a chance, that he’s earning 100k per week and costing around 35mil in transfer fee, also reason why we have not signed another proven CB. What a really great buy this guy was… Read more »

A Different George

Did you watch Gabriel when he played for us? Did you watch Gabriel when we beat Valencia a few weeks ago? Did you watch Chambers when he played in our central defense? Have you watched Chambers as a holding midfielder when Fulham let in more goals than anyone in the league?


But young man, your 10% error costs the team 100% of the points-all the time, this is not the mentality of a lion…err winner! There’s no way Emery is hearing this and thinking, well done Shkodran, this is exactly what i am looking for in my players.

Surely this the last interview he does as an Arsenal player!!! Yuck!!!


I don’t care what he thinks or what he has to say, I just want him replaced by next season.


Again the hyperbole…people have to realise the press contribute to the hysteria. Instead of being emotional, they need to also consider the positives and be more balance. He hasn’t made as many mistakes as most deem him to. Remember Koscielny’s first season with us? It was littered with reds, own goals and penalties conceded. Mustafi has made mistakes but so has Monreal (at fault positionally this season many times over), Sokratis (concededs an equal amount of unecessary free kicks) even Koscielny. He does need to improve his concentration for sure but hehas also been solid for us in many matches.… Read more »

The only sp*rs i like is san antonio

Again the hypeebole of santori who wrote a long essay with the same topic again and again and again….


I agree with most of your points but most people will still downvote you and provide counter-arguments. Here’s the thing with Mustafi: he’s a good defender but terribly inconsistent, and his mentality doesn’t allow him to learn enough from his mistakes to get to the level required to be a great defender. I was a staunch supporter of Mustafi previously but unfortunately, he has been far too costly this season. Losses/poor performances never boil down to any one individual but it would not be a stretch at all to suggest that with a stronger, more consistent defender in his place,… Read more »


The thing is: everyone makes a mistake. Kos, Papa, Holding, Chambers, Dinos, Mustafi… Everyone. But who makes mistakes that are not in any way forced by the opposition? Who slides and leaves his teammate exposed? So other good things he brings don’t matter, as long as there is a chance of him doing “Mustafi” and putting the whole team a goal down(via penalty or allowing opposition to score). I think there is probably a decent def in him somewhere, but in a panic(and that happens quite often, let’s be clear), his horrible reflexes kick in and he does something stupid.


You should be rather courageous to face Mohammed Sala, Leroy Sane, Sergio Agüero, Harry Kane and Eden Hazard week in and week out. And there are other very competent attackers in the premier league as well. Against these world class attackers we must muster world class defenders. Unfortunately, Mustafi has not quite reached that level.

He is the worst ball watcher in the club (although he is not alone in that respect) and while he is fixated with the ball, Hazard, Higuain, Pedro and half West London can walk comfortably in behind his back.


admire his water off a ducks arse attitude to criticism can only imagine him getting his full undisturbed 8 hours sleep every night before sliding in to his slippers in the morning.


What if he is found out of position, needlessly bombing forward sometimes ?
He never hides
He’s got a great engine
He shows 100% passion
He’s scored a few big goals for us.
I thought we appreciated that here 😉 😛


All true, except he is just have horrible reflexes, which makes him a horrible defender. All that 90% crap… All he has to do, is not make unforced mistakes and we all will be fine. No one asks him to be Tony Adams or Sol. “The coach prefers that we make mistakes but still play our game…” Well, it has nothing to do with style or what coach wants, I am sure Emery didn’t want him to send Zaha 1v1 on Leno.

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