Martin Keown has suggested during BT Sport’s live post-match coverage of Arsenal’s draw with Vitoria (broadcast on 6/11; 17:55) that Shkodran Mustafi may have handed his Gunners career a lifeline after scoring in the 1-1 draw.
Mustafi appears to be well out of favour at the moment. The 27-year-old is yet to play in the Premier League this term, with the majority of his appearances coming in the Europa League.
He started Wednesday’s clash with Vitoria. It was another disappointing evening for the Gunners, with Unai Emery’s men throwing away another lead. But Mustafi had something to smile about as he scored the visitors’ only goal.
And while Keown admitted that he is not sure whether he will return to Emery’s first-choice side anytime soon, he did suggest that it could prove to be a significant goal in Mustafi’s Arsenal career.
“A big moment for him because you wondered if his Arsenal career was well and truly over,” he told BT Sport. “And you saw the improvement from him afterwards, confidence with some diagonal balls. That will do him the world of good.
“Whether he gets back in or not, he’s certainly going to play in this competition. It was certainly an important goal for Arsenal. Without it, they would have simply lost this game.”
It does look to be a long way back for Mustafi. But perhaps it would be fair to suggest that players have fought back from much bleaker situations in the past.
He clearly needs to prove a lot to get back into the team. But he is, unfortunately, helped out by the fact that Arsenal’s other centre-backs are hardly leaving him behind in the pecking order.