Shkodran Mustafi was ruled out of the FA Cup final yesterday, the hamstring strain he picked up against Man City is too serious for him to recover in time.
It was the German’s 9th appearance in just over a month, and the physical strain took its toll late in the game when he raced to clear from Raheem Sterling.
Last week Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta revealed some of his squad were being nursed through ongoing aches and strains, with injections required in certain cases to get players through the games.
And ahead of Sunday’s final Premier League encounter of the season, he expressed his concern at how much has been demanded of players during this period.
“I’m worried, for example muscle injuries are related to this because we have to expose our players,” he said.
“We’ve had some really bad injuries, don’t forget, in the last few weeks when we lost big, big players. Our goalkeepers, central defender, Martinelli, midfielders but it is what it is.
“It’s an unprecedented time with Covid-19, we knew the challenge afterwards. The Premier League has done the best possible way to fit all the fixtures into this calendar year and we’re going to move everything back to the next season.
“It’s our responsibility to put a plan together where we don’t expose them [the players] as much as we can but sometimes it’s inevitable. When you don’t have the numbers they have to keep playing.”
Pressed further on whether or not he harboured deeper concerns about the lack of a proper pre-season before the new campaign begins on September 12th, he said, “Yes, but it’s going to be the same for everybody so we have to adapt.”
It’s the second time in three years Mustafi will have missed an FA Cup final against Chelsea. He made a big contribution to the team getting there, so let’s hope that the lads can finish the job in his absence.