Shkodran Mustafi is very likely out of the FA Cup final against Chelsea next week, according to reports and quotes from Mikel Arteta.

Shkodran Mustafi in training with Arsenal (Photo via
Shkodran Mustafi in training with Arsenal (Photo via

Mustafi picked up an injury in the latter stages of Arsenal’s FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City, missing the subsequent trip to Aston Villa. There’s still over a week until the final against Chelsea, but the centre-back’s chances of a return aren’t very good.

Reporters asked Mikel Arteta about the prospect on Thursday, and the head coach didn’t seem positive.

“I doubt it (that he’ll make it back in time),” said Arteta. “We have to see how he evolves in the next few days, but at the moment I doubt it.”

It’s obviously a blow for the side, considering Mustafi was starting to build a good partnership at the back with David Luiz and Kieran Tierney. Nobody really expected the trio to keep a clean sheet against City to reach the final in the first place.

Rob Holding is available, and he helped Arsenal keep Liverpool to just one goal. But it’s never ideal to limit your options ahead of a key match.

Aside from Mustafi, Arsenal will aim to name a strong side this weekend against Watford. They have almost a week to rest between the game and the final, so there’s no real need to rotate. Better to build some momentum by going for a final-day win.