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Shkodran Mustafi’s parody performances are breaking Arsenal hearts this season

We seriously need to talk about the German World Cup winner

Virgil Van Dijk has shown this season just how important a level-headed and imposing centre-back can be for a Premier League team.

His addition to Liverpool’s squad has transformed them from top-four hopefuls to challenging the all-powerful Man City for the title.

So where do we start with Shkodran Mustafi?

A modern day masterpiece

Getty Images - Getty
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A modern day masterpiece

If Arsenal had their own Van Dijk then they may be looking a a couple of crucial places up the table, instead they have Mustafi and they are now in real danger of missing out on the top four.

The Gunners had a real chance to capitalise on defeats for both Spurs and Man United this weekend, then Mustafi happened.

And believe us, this is not the first time we have written those words.

Who let him in there?

Getty - Contributor
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Who let him in there?

Arsenal’s home defeat has blown the race for the top four wide open and unfortunately it can mainly be put down to Mustafi pretending to be a Premier League defender.

It looked the German may have fallen asleep at a corner to allow Christian Benteke (yes, you read that correctly) to burst away from him and nod in from eight yards out.

For clarity here, it was Benteke’s first Premier League goal for 358 days.

Appealing won’t help you now

Reuters
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Appealing won’t help you now

But if that mistake was the starter, the main course was even more impressive.

It takes a fair bit to beat just leaving your man at a free-kick but Palace’s second goal was pure unadulterated Mustafi.

A long ball was nodded on to past Wilfried Zaha and Mustafi tried to shepherd the winger off the ball all the while expecting Bernd Leno to come and collect.

But as you have probably seen by now his limp attempt to block Zaha’s run was so bad he ended up moving out of the way to allow the Ivorian to run through and finish.

Surely no danger here

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Surely no danger here

Only Mustafi could let this happen

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Only Mustafi could let this happen

Unai Emery has an inexplicable level of trust in the German centre-back handing him 28 appearances in the league this season and making him a cornerstone of Arsenal’s back line.

The Gunners had kept six clean sheets in their last seven games but Mustafi’s presence in the starting was a reminder of the defensive frailties that have haunted this side long before Emery’s arrival.

But ever since he arrived for £35million in 2016 Mustafi has permanently looked on the verge of a mind-bending mistake.

Against Palace yesterday he had one absolute howler and two errors which led to goals that a player at this level should not be making.

As the above thread shows, Mustafi has been at fault for several key goals this season.

If the Gunners have any desire of actually challenging for the title next season then they will need to upgrade on Mustafi, as I said at the beginning just look at what Van Dijk has done at Anfield.

But if they miss out on Champions League football, the unlikely event of Kalidou Koulibaly (or someone of his calibre) moving to the Emirates becomes infinitely more unlikely.


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