Shkodran Mustafi Out For Three Weeks With Hamstring Strain

Reuters / Tony O’Brien

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that centre-back Shkodran Mustafi might be sidelined for minimum three weeks due to a hamstring strain he picked during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Stoke City.

Mustafi had no choice but to leave the pitch after only 25 minutes at the Emirates, giving a massive injury blow to the in-form Gunners ahead of the busy Christmas period.

The German defender formed an excellent partnership with Laurent Koscielny since his £35 million summer transfer from Valencia, but Arsenal will now have to strengthen their backline without him for several crucial league fixtures, including next weekend’s challenge against Manchester City.

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“It’s a bad one,” Wenger said, when speaking about the German’s hamstring strain. “The minimum [layoff] is 21 days. That means he’ll have a nice Christmas.”

Mustafi was given a much-needed rest in Arsenal’s midweek Champions League match at Basel, and Wenger confirmed that he had been carrying a slight knock ahead of that game as well, but was cleared by the medical team ahead of Saturday’s league fixture.

“He had nothing. I would not have played him today if he had [an injury],” Wenger said. “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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Mustafi was replaced by the returning Hector Bellerin against Stoke, with Gabriel Paulista switching back to his natural centre-back role after starting the game at right-back. Gabriel’s form has been really good in recent games, but losing Mustafi still disrupts what has been a rock solid defensive unit for Arsene Wenger.

Meanwhile, the win against Stoke took Arsenal provisionally top of the Premier League table on goals scored, although Chelsea have the chance to reclaim the lead on Sunday.


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