Shkodran Mustafi says Arsenal’s defensive organisation key to winning Europa League

Shkodran Mustafi says Arsenal’s defensive organisation key to winning Europa League

Shkodran Mustafi believes the Europa League final between Arsenal and Chelsea will be won and lost in defence.

Arsenal go into the final with the potent strike partnership of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang almost certain to start in Baku.

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Mustafi, 27, feels Arsenal can triumph over Chelsea – and as a result secure qualification into next season’s Champions League – by starting well and remaining organised at the back.

“It is about how we start the game and which team is going to be more organised,” he said.

“We know each other very well and we play a lot of games against each other. They know our weaknesses; we know their weaknesses and it is about who is going to make the fewest mistakes. It is going to be very tight.

“But I believe in my team and every single player and I believe we are good enough to beat them.

“Even when you play against Chelsea, it’s the Europa League, it’s a final so it’s going to be different than the games we played in the Premier League.

“It’s going to be a game where one mistake punishes you and that’s why we’ve got to be very careful.

“Our job as defenders is to try not to concede but if you make 90 per cent of your job and in the 10 per cent the opponent scores, people forget about the 90 per cent.”

Despite the success of Arsenal’s strikers, the Gunners still failed to finish in the Premier League’s top four alongside Chelsea.

Mustafi accepts criticism of the Gunners’ back line but says defenders face more scrutiny than their attacking counterparts.

“If in the end of the season you made 70 points it is for a reason,” he added.

“If you go into the game without the defence and only with attacking players I am not sure you are going to make 70 points.

“For us defenders, if you make one mistake and they score, even if in five minutes you save something on the line, people still won’t talk about it.

“We didn’t reach the position we wanted to reach. That is a disappointing fact. But we still have the opportunity in the Europa League to reach the goal we wanted – and a trophy as well.”


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