Arsène Wenger has publicly revealed why he feels the centre-back partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi has been so effective since the latter’s arrival in the summer transfer window.
The defensive duo have been instrumental in helping Arsenal to keep consecutive clean sheets, and the Gunners boast a five-match unbeaten run with both centre-backs in the side.
As quoted by the club’s official website, Wenger said: “Koscielny is the leader because he is captain but Mustafi looks like he is taking leadership as well at the back. What is surprising is how quickly he has integrated into the team at the back and how quickly they have formed a pair that works well together.”
Mustafi’s willingness to make defensive interventions and help the side in dangerous moments are just two of the main reasons why he has settled into life in north London well. It’s no surprise then, to hear words from Wenger saying that he is “vocal in the dressing room”, speaks his mind and also wants to “do the job well everyday.”
Questions will continue to arise as to whether he fully relishes physical battles, until he becomes a mainstay in the Arsenal backline. But good individual performances against sides such as Burnley for instance, will go a long way to silencing the critics who doubt whether his arrival at the Emirates is having its desired effect.
Wenger also said, “What makes me positive is he is focused, has the desire to do well, and is 24-years-old. So for a central defender that is quite young. Let’s see how he survives in games [against the likes of Burnley], where it is a case of ‘Can I head the ball, win the second ball?'”