Arsenal won again on Saturday afternoon, making light work of an in-form Stoke City team with a 3-1 win, but it wasn’t all good news for Arsenal fans on Saturday.
One downside to the game was Skhodran Mustafi’s injury. The summer signing picked up a bad hamstring strain and it means he will miss some crucial games over the busy summer period. With Arsene Wenger saying that he will be injured for at least 3 weeks, we take a look at what games he will miss and what Arsenal can do to cope with his absence.
13 Dec – Everton (a)
18 Dec – Man City (a)
26 Dec – West Brom (h)
1 Jan – Crystal Palace (h)
3 Jan – Bournemouth (a)
7 Jan – Preston (a) – FA Cup
14 Jan – Swansea (a)
Optimistically, Mustafi could return for the New Years Day tie at home to Crystal Palace. The pessimist inside me doubts that he will feature in the Premier League again until January the 14th against Swansea City (a). So in the best case scenario, Mustafi could just miss games vs. Everton, Man City and West Brom. 3 tough games though, so Wenger and the fans must be so disappointed to see him injured. After that the games get a little easier, so I’m sure Wenger won’t rush him back.
Obviously the positive news was that Hector Bellerin returned, meaning that Gabriel could now slide back over to the centre of defence. There’s also Rob Holding, who, when called upon, has looked like a defender with a huge amount of potential.
I expect Gabriel to be given a chance at the centre of defence now. I do worry that he is very similar to Laurent Koscielny and when they have been paired previously it doesn’t seem to have worked. Time will tell if that is different now.