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Arteta confident he can fix error-prone Mustafi at Arsenal

01:30 GMT+3 27/01/2020
Shkodran Mustafi Arsenal 2019/20
The Gunners boss has defended his centre-back after the error which led to David Luiz's red card in the draw at Chelsea

Mikel Arteta is convinced he can cure Shkodran Mustafi of the costly errors that have plagued his Arsenal career.

Mustafi produced the latest in a long line of howlers during the 2-2 draw at Chelsea on Tuesday night when his under-hit backpass led to the incident which saw David Luiz sent off for bringing down Tammy Abraham in the box.

The German defender came in for plenty of criticism after the game and he took to social media to apologise to his team-mates and Luiz for the role he played in the Brazilian’s dismissal.

But Arteta has backed the 27-year-old ahead of Monday night’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Bournemouth and still believes he can coach the mistakes out of him.

“Absolutely. It’s my job to do that,” Arsenal’s head coach replied when asked whether he could change the direction of Mustafi’s career in north London. 

“I don’t believe that at 27 you cannot improve certain aspects of the game. I really believe that you can.

“I’ve worked with players like this, I’ve had team-mates like this and there is always a moment where there is a click.

“There are certain patterns that lead to these type of scenarios [mistakes] and the more of those patterns that we take away, slowly they will decrease. I’m confident we can do that.”

Luiz’s red card left Arsenal having to play with 10 men for more than an hour at Stamford Bridge last week - but the Gunners showed real spirit to salvage a 2-2 draw thanks to Hector Bellerin’s late equaliser.

Mustafi was a big part of that fightback, making several fine blocks as part of a makeshift centre-back partnership with Granit Xhaka.

And Arteta says the way the defender responded to his early error deserves real credit.

“I can accept a mistake, no problem,” said the Spaniard. “What I’m not going to accept is someone who makes a mistake and after he stops playing, he doesn’t want the ball, he doesn’t want to make decisions. That player is not acceptable for our team.

“But Musti after that [mistake] tried to play every single time, he went for every single challenge and he put his body on the line.

“He was down afterwards, yes, but he reacted and if he does that, he will overcome the situation.

“He made a mistake. Obviously we want to minimise that as quickly as possible and find the reason why that happens, but I like his reaction after that.”

On whether Mustafi still has a long-term future at Arsenal, Arteta added: “While he is my player and he is training with me the way he does every day, of course.

“The plans maybe in the summer were different with him, I came here, he is here and his attitude is always right.”

With Luiz suspended on Monday night following his sending off at Chelsea, Rob Holding could come into contention to start at Bournemouth.

The 24-year-old came off the bench for the final 10 minutes at Stamford Bridge for his first appearance since struggling against Leeds during the third round victory at the start of the month.

Holding has yet to hit top form since returning from his nine-month injury lay-off, but Arteta says he has been impressed with the former Bolton man’s attitude.

“He is a very interesting player, very focused, very determined and very willing to learn,” said the Gunners boss. “He is a player that is going to be very valuable for us.”

“Obviously the fact he has been out for such a long time, he is lacking competition now and lacking that rhythm. We need to try to give him as much as possible to help.”

When asked if a loan move would be beneficial to Holding, Arteta added: “Sometimes the context is not ideal for an individual player’s needs.

“In this moment obviously we are in that position and we cannot do that.”