Arsenal wait anxiously on results of Shkodran Mustafi’s ankle injury
Shkodran Mustafi faces a nervous wait to discover the extent of the ankle injury suffered in Arsenal’s 2-1 FA Cup win at Bournemouth.
The Germany defender was carried off the pitch on a stretcher after landing awkwardly on his right ankle as Arsenal eased past the Cherries at the Vitality Stadium on Monday night.
Bukayo Saka and Eddie Nketiah struck to book Arsenal an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Portsmouth, while Sam Surridge slotted a late consolation for the Cherries.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admitted Mustafi could be facing a spell on the sidelines, but still had to wait for the result of scans on Tuesday.
“We’ll be assessing him between today and tomorrow but when a central defender has to come off, hopefully I’m wrong, but normally it’s not good news,” said Arteta.
Asked if Mustafi’s situation could alter Arsenal’s January transfer plans, Arteta added: “We have a very clear intention of what we wanted to do in the market with the resources we have.
“If we can do it that’s fine but his fitness won’t change that.”
Arteta hailed young English trio Saka, Nketiah and Joe Willock for providing the backbone performances in a near-effortless victory.
“I’m very pleased, I knew it was going to be tough out here,” said Arteta.
“We played a really young squad today and wanted to see their reaction, and I’m very pleased.
“In the first half I think we were really, really good. I’m excited that everything we planned came together in a good way.
“They are important, the core of that team at the moment. So to play with that accountability, I really like it.
“The young players were terrific, their work-rate, and for me as well the courage to play, to make big decisions and not just play it safe.
“You look at Nketiah on the wing and then three seconds later he’s in the middle of the goal.
“He’s always in the middle of the goal to score, and the way he works off the ball is terrific.”
Premier League relegation battlers Bournemouth paid full price for a woeful opening half-hour to leave boss Howe frustrated with their initial attitude.
“The start was hugely disappointing; maybe the early goal rocked us psychologically but we really struggled to deal with Arsenal in that first half an hour,” said Howe.
“It was all the basics really. I don’t think we learned too much tonight because our mentality wasn’t right in the first half hour.
“And we’ll kick ourselves now because that game was there for us.”