Arsenal will head into the hectic festive season without the help of the impressive Shkrodran Mustafi after the German suffered a ‘bad’ hamstring injury in the 3-1 win over Stoke City on Saturday.
The former Valencia centre-half is unbeaten in an Arsenal shirt and will miss key ties against another former club of his Everton on Tuesday night, as well as the notable upcoming clash against Manchester City.
Mustafi was substituted just 25 minutes into the tie at Emirates Stadium that saw the Gunners climb above Chelsea into top spot, and Arsene Wenger has confirmed it is at least a three week absence.
“It’s a bad one,” Wenger told reporters of the severity of the hamstring strain. “The minimum [layoff] is 21 days. … That means he’ll have a nice Christmas.”
The Gunners boss reiterated that Mustafi underwent multiple checks to confirm his fitness after being afforded a rest for the midweek trip to FC Basel.
“He had nothing. I would not have played him today if he had [an injury],” Wenger added. “Even he wanted to play in Basel, because he said, ‘No it’s nothing,’ and he was completely cleared. I checked three times, there was no problem before. I don’t know why it happened. But it looks a good hamstring strain.”
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The stable Koscstafi partnership will unfortunately be broken up for the upcoming weeks and it means an extended run in the side for Gabriel who has been very impressive since deputising at right back in recent weeks.
Luckily the Brazilian has had a run in the side and now has to take the opportunity to prove his worth during a crucial period of Arsenal’s season. The Gunners stability at the back has largely been attributed to the flourishing partnership between Mustafi and Koscielny, let’s see how deep this squad really is.
The Gunners thankfully welcomed back Hector Bellerin who marked his return with a bang by teeing up Theo Walcott for the equalizer. A massive boost to the backline.
Get well soon Shkodran.