English Premiership

Arteta: Mustafi still has the potential to improve

Shkodran Mustafi (Getty Images)
Shkodran Mustafi (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is convinced he can still help Shkodran Mustafi improve his game and become more consistent as a defender.

The German's mistake at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday led to team-mate David Luiz receiving his marching orders early on during the 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

While Mustafi reacted positively, it highlighted why he has been a source of frustration for Arsenal fans who have grown tired of his frequent errors since signing for the club in 2016 for a reported £35 million.

Under Unai Emery, the former Valencia centre-back was surplus to requirements and made available for transfer, but the new Gunners head coach has thrown him a lifeline and injuries and suspension mean he will start in the FA Cup at Bournemouth on Monday.

"I don't believe that at 27-years-old you cannot improve certain aspects of the game, I really believe you can," Arteta said.

"I work with players like this and I have team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click. I can accept a mistake, no problem.

"What I'm not going to accept is somebody makes a mistake and after he stops playing, and he doesn't want the ball and doesn't want to make decisions. That player is not acceptable for our team.

"But Musti after that (mistake), he tried to play every single time, he went for every single challenge and put his body on the line. He was down afterwards but he reacted and if he does that, he will overcome the situation.

"I ask him to play the way we want to play. He makes mistake, another day it will be someone else. Obviously, we want to minimise that as quick as possible and find the reason why that happens, but I like his reaction after that."

Former Manchester City assistant Arteta suggested there are certain patterns which lead to the scenario where a player like Mustafi makes a mistake.

He wants to try and take that away and hinted the one-time Everton defender could remain at the club for many years if he can cut out the errors.

"When he is my player and when he is training with me the way he does every day, of course," Arteta responded when asked if Mustafi has a long-term future at Arsenal.

"The plans maybe in the summer were different with him. I came here, he is here, and his attitude is always right, and he wants to help.

"Yes, he made a mistake, but it's okay. I like more the reaction and I look more at the reaction."

- TeamTalk Media