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The Statistics proves that Arsenal star is wrongly criticised

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If there is one player at Arsenal that has come in for a ton of abuse and criticism from his own fans it is defender Shkodran Mustafi but statistics show that he was our most effective and reliable defender.

I have had a look at the statistics for Arsenal defender at the official Premier League website and they make for some very interesting reading.

Passes

Out of all the defenders Mustafi has made the most passes, 1,765 and even better, he made the second highest amount of passes from the entire team, Only Granit Xhaka made more.

Touches

Same with touches of the ball, Musafi was by far the top defender with 2223 touches and only Xhaka had more in the entire team.

Tackles

Again, Mustafi made more tackles than any other defender with 62, that is 20 more than second-highest Sokratis on 42 and out of the entire team only Lucas Torreira made more with 65.

Fouls

The German did make more fouls than any other defender but less than Granit Xhaka and Alexandre Lacazette.

Dispossessed


With so many touches you would have thought that Mustafi would have been dispossessed the most but nope, Saed Kolainac, Hector Bellerin and Stephan Lichsteiner lost the ball more often and Mustafi was dispossessed just six times.

Clearances

Yes, you guessed it, the most clearances by any player at the club was Musafi and he made 53 more than any other defender.

Clearances off the line

Only three of our players made clearances off the line with one each and of course, Mustafi was one along with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Nacho Monreal.

Now, we do need some context, Mustafi played more minutes than any other Arsenal defender and the stats do not always tell the true story, as an example one single mistake can have a bigger impact than ten other mistakes but even so, over an entire season Mustafi has proven that he is no worse than any other defender and the stats have him as one of our better more reliable defenders.

Some will no doubt say that he was the best of a bad bunch so I decided to find a Tottenham defender that played more or less the same amount of games and that was Toby Alderweireld who played 34 games compared to 31 from Mustafi and it really was an eye-opener.

In some areas, Alderweireld has a better record but in many others, it is Mustafi with more interceptions, tackles, tackles won, headed clearances and aerial battles won.

On those stats alone you cannot argue that the Tottenham man played any better than Mustafi and yet it is our defender that is dumped on from a great height.

Just something for us all to consider.

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Shkodran Mustafi can see a future at Arsenal after reviving his career under Mikel Arteta

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Shkodran Mustafi can see a future at Arsenal after reviving his career under Mikel Arteta following poor spell

  • Shkodran Mustafi has fallen out of favour under former manager Unai Emery
  • However, Arteta has been pairing the German with David Luiz at centre back
  • Mustafi appeared against Olympiacos and is hoping to keep place on Sunday

Shkodran Mustafi has refused to rule out remaining at Arsenal beyond the end of the season after rebuilding his relationship with the club’s fanbase following his recent resurgence.

Having been told by previous boss Unai Emery that he was free to leave the club last summer and then being left out on a regular basis, Mustafi has earned a chance of reviving his Gunners career under Mikel Arteta.

The Germany international has endured a strained affiliation with Arsenal supporters since his big-money move from Valencia in 2016 and has often been derided for his defensive capability.

Shkodran Mustafi is refusing to rule out the possibility of remaining at Arsenal past this season

Shkodran Mustafi is refusing to rule out the possibility of remaining at Arsenal past this season

But, alongside David Luiz at the heart of the back four, Mustafi has played his part in three consecutive clean sheets – the first time Arsenal have enjoyed such a run in 10 months.

He again stood strong in Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League round of 32 win in Olympiacos as Alexandre Lacazette’s goal put Arteta’s side in the driving seat to advance to the next stage.

Speaking after the narrow victory in Piraeus, Mustafi — who has now started the last six Arsenal games across all competitions — said he could now remain at the Emirates Stadium in the long-term.

Asked if he saw his future at Arsenal, he replied: ‘Why not? I have always taken things day to day.

‘We had a game on Thursday, we have the next important game at the weekend and as long as I am playing for a club – it doesn’t matter which one – I play now for Arsenal and played before for previous ones.

‘I always gave everything until the last minute and when I decide or when the club and I decide it is going to continue I am happy to continue, if not then we have to go forward.’

Often singled out as a scapegoat during recent Arsenal trials and tribulations, Mustafi’s recent form has seen him praised by supporters and the 27-year-old admits building bridges with fans has made his return to the team easier.

‘It is always important to have a good relationship with the fans but for me the main thing was to be professional,’ he added.

‘To always be there for my team-mates and for the club and then obviously when you play well they appreciate your performances but it makes it easier when you have the fans behind you, back supporting you so I am happy for that.’

Having a settled life away from the spotlight of the football pitch is something else Mustafi credits with helping him to kick-start his stuttering career in England.

Mustafi has won back his place at the heart of Arsenal's defence under Mikel Arteta

Mustafi has won back his place at the heart of Arsenal's defence under Mikel Arteta

Mustafi has won back his place at the heart of Arsenal’s defence under Mikel Arteta

‘You know I think in the beginning of the season, not being selected, not making the squad, it has been difficult,’ he said.

‘But I am a person who tries to see more the positive things than the negatives. I think that helped me a lot.

‘Having my family around me – my kids, my wife – because life is not only football. That’s something I kept remembering to myself.

‘Being in training every day, playing a lot of games, you get a lot of attention but still at the end of the day I am a father of two kids and I try to focus on this as well. I am happy how it is running now.

‘I am happy for the team as well because it is doing great and we are getting rewarded for it. That’s the most important thing.’

 



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Video: Inter Milan’s Christian Eriksen scores his first goal since signing from Tottenham Hotspur

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Former Tottenham Hotspur attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen has scored his first goal for new club Inter Milan. The Denmark international was on…

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Photo: Arsenal stars celebrate in the dressing room after beating Olympiakos

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Arsenal pair Bernd Leno and Shkodran Musafi celebrated alongside each other after last night’s 0-1 win over Olympiakos in their Europa League…

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