Shkodran Mustafi believes the reason he and Laurent Koscielny work so well on the pitch is because they understand the way the other plays.
Mustafi and Koscielny, or ‘Kostafi’, have quickly become a formidable pair at the heart of Arsenal’s defence. Although we knew we needed a new centreback following Per Mertesacker’s knee surgery, I’m not sure many could have predicted the success the former Valencia defender would have in the Premier League alongside Kos.
The German international seems to be much more on Kos’ level than other centrebacks at the club and although there are definite weakness there (let’s not talk about Watford) they do, as Mustafi says, appear to have an understanding on the pitch.
“I think it’s because we see football in the same way,” Mustafi said. “We are not only trying to defend, trying to drop off and just be deep defenders who destroy the game.
“We try to play as well and be on the front foot to help our team-mates and I think that’s why we understand each other so well, because he understands my reactions on the field and I understand his.
“That’s something that works really good, but it’s not just me and Koscielny. It’s really the whole back four.
“It doesn’t matter who is playing, everyone gives everything for the team.”
As previously mentioned, Kostafi is far from perfect. However, I’m unsure how much of this is due to Mustafi bedding into a new league. Although he’s enjoyed a strong start, he’s used to a winter break, which he’s not had at Arsenal, and I wonder if that’s why he lacked sharpness against the Hornets.
Hopefully, the more the two centrebacks play together, the stronger they’ll grow.