Football

Shkodran Mustafi.

Koscielny-Mustafi statistic proves Arsenal don't need Per Mertesacker

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Arsenal fans were desperate for Arsene Wenger to sign a new centre-back in the summer transfer window - and boy did he deliver.

Thirty-five million spent on Shkodran Mustafi represented a risk but two months on from his arrival and the Germany international is already well on his way to justifying his price tag.

A combative but composed defender, the 24-year-old has thoroughly impressed in Arsenal colours with a number of commanding performances.

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Against Chelsea last weekend, for example, Mustafi dominated Diego Costa from start to finish, using his strength and aggression to nullify the Spaniard's effect.

One statistic particularly epitomises just how formidable a partnership he has formed with defensive stalwart Laurent Koscielny.

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Heading into the international break, Arsenal have recorded four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, beating Nottingham Forrest, Chelsea, Basel and Burnley all to nil.

What's most intriguing about the streak is that the partnership of Koscielny and Per Mertesacker failed the very same feat in each of the last two seasons.

In fact, the last time Arsenal managed four-straight clean sheets was two and a half years ago, in April 2014.

Koscielny and Mustafi will feel positive about extending their run following the international break, with Swansea City, Ludogorets, Middlesborough and Reading all due to arrive at the Emirates Stadium.

FBL-ENG-PR-BURNLEY-ARSENAL

Wenger certainly seems happy with the start his £35 million signing has made.

Prior to Arsenal's narrow 1-0 win over Burnley, he said: "He has the potential [to be a great defender for Arsenal], which is interesting at the moment.

"It is a bit too early to say, you have to be cautious when a guy has played only three or four games.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-CHELSEA

"What makes me positive is he is focused, has the desire to do well, and is 24-years-old. So for a central defender that is quite young.

"Let's see how he survives in games like Sunday against Burnley, where it is a case of 'Can I head the ball? Can I win the second ball?' I would say I have a positive feeling."

Mustafi was once again solid at Burnley, coping well with the threat of Sam Vokes and helping Arsenal along to fifth-straight Premier League win.

Partner-in-crime Koscielny scored the late winner with seconds to spare from Alexis Sanchez's cross, though his goal perhaps should have been ruled out for handball.

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Topics:
Thierry Henry
Alexis Sanchez
Football
Premier League
Mesut Özil
UEFA Champions League
Theo Walcott
Arsenal
Shkodran Mustafi

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