Arsenal manager Unai Emery has acknowledged that Shkodran Mustafi was substituted midway through the Premier League clash against Fulham after sustaining a minor recurrence of the hamstring problem, which had hampered him during the festive schedule of fixtures.
The Gunners managed to return to winning ways against the Cottagers after a couple of disappointing outings at Brighton & Hove Albion and Liverpool but they were not entirely impressive on the defensive front, where Ryan Sessegnon was initially handed a couple of glorious attempts to open the scoresheet.
Despite the flaws, Emery’s side eventually sealed a victory with a flattering 4-1 scoreline and speaking after the game, the Spanish head coach said that Mustafi’s substitution was rather enforced than that being a tactical decision.
He added that the setback is only a minor one and the German could possibly return to the fray for the weekend’s FA Cup third round tie against Blackpool, whom they have already been in the League Cup earlier in the season.
“It’s a small injury, a small problem. He didn’t feel well after the first half and said for us to change. It’s not a big injury. He wanted to play today to help us, so maybe we can give him a few days rest to help us. Yes [it’s a hamstring],” he said.
The central defence has been the Gunners’ prime concern over the past few years and the problem have remained the same this term with just three shutouts resulting from the 21 Premier League matches to date.
Nonetheless, the issue may not be solved during the halfway stage of the campaign, although the hierarchy may look into a potential recruit with Rob Holding sidelined for the season after a long-term knee injury.
Arsenal’s victory over the Cottagers has taken them within two points off fourth-placed Chelsea but the Blues could extend this gap once more when they entertain Southampton in their stadium on Wednesday night.
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