By Andrew Dowdeswell
Shkodran Mustafi has stated that Arsenal should not be satisfied with their current position in the league. He is the necessary grinch that the club needs.
Much has been made of Arsenal’s mental fragility over the past decade. And rightly so. The team that annually promises so much continually fails to deliver on their immeasurable potential thanks to a weakness between the ears.
The great Sir Alex Ferguson sides of Old Trafford, the Jose Mourinho Chelsea teams and even Manchester City of late have all shown the ability to win without playing well.
The £35 million addition of Shkodran Mustafi has been vindicated with his excellent performances on the pitch. It is quickly becoming a bargain when the influence that he has on the team is taken into account.
Speaking about the team’s current standing in the Premier League, Mustafi stated:
"I would be happy to stay on top. The job was to get the three points [against Bournemouth]. Then in two days and three days we have again the next game and it keeps going and going.
"There is no point to be happy now – there are still a lot of games to go. We have had a few games where we have scored in the last seconds. It just shows we are a team that believes until the end and that’s what we’re going to keep doing."
His miserable nature, the fact that he is unhappy with being in contention for winning is the perfect antidote for a team that has for so long had to settle for less than the fans demand.
Mustafi is a winner and anything less than winning is unacceptable to him. What is even more endearing is his willingness to share his unhappiness with his teammates, all for the cause of the team. He has, having only been with the club for a matter of months, already taken up a role of leadership, is a significant voice in the dressing room and is now bringing a winning culture to the club.
His influence in the dressing room is being noticed in the results. Arsenal have not played their scintillating best for some time now.
And yet, they have not been defeated in any competition since the opening day of the season loss to Liverpool.
Mustafi may well be a Grinch-like figure for the team, but it is wholly necessary and wholly beneficial.