Arsene Wenger has admitted that he didn’t expect to lose Shkodran Mustafi to injury as he hadn’t predicted that the Germany international would play against Azerbaijan.

Wenger admits that Mustafi is the last player he predicted he would lose to injury during the interlull as Germany had already qualified for next year’s World Cup. Therefore, he didn’t really expect Joachim Loew to start the defender against Azerbaijan at home.

“It’s always difficult to predict the situation because the player I least expected to lose during the break was Mustafi,” he said. “First of all, I was not sure he would play.
“Secondly, Germany had already qualified so I didn’t expect him to be out injured as the games would be less intense. He didn’t play in the first game, and we lost him in the second game against Azerbaijan at home. We have to cope with that now.”
Medical staff help injured Germany’s defender Shkodran Mustafi during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualification football match between Germany and Azerbaijan in Mainz, western Germany, on October 8, 2017. (CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Arsenal fans were also frustrated as Mustafi, one of the Gunners’ only out-and-out centre-backs, limped off in the 36th minute during the World Cup qualifier. It’s pretty typical for our key players to pick up injuries in meaningless international matches.

While Wenger’s comments probably aren’t a direct dig at Loew, the Frenchman voicing his confusion at the 25-year-old getting played and then saying that Arsenal are the ones that will have to ‘cope’ with it does suggest that he’s unhappy with the Germany coach.

The boss confirmed that Mustafi is out for four to six weeks with his hamstring injury and will therefore miss the next international break at the beginning of November.

This leaves Arsenal in a bit of a sticky situation, as Laurent Koscielny is also out because his problem Achilles has flared up again.