Shkodran Mustafi slams "irrational" criticism of his performances for Arsenal

Shkodran Mustafi

Shkodran Mustafi has hit out at “irrational” criticism of his Arsenal performances and claimed that he has become an unfair target.

The centre-back has yet to play a single minute in the Premier League for Unai Emery’s side this season.

Mustafi made 40 appearances in all competitions last term but a series of high-profile mistake saw him linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium in the summer.

One of his most error-prone performances came in a 5-1 loss to Liverpool last December, after which Mustafi was heavily criticised by fans and the media.

However, the German has provided an explanation for his display at Anfield that afternoon, as well as revealing his frustration at becoming a scapegoat.

“I had been out injured for three weeks but went into the game without a training session because the manager needed me," Mustafi told Der Spiegel. "At half-time we were 4-1 down and had made some mistakes and injured myself again.

“After that I received an extreme amount of negative comments from Arsenal fans and articles were written in which I was heavily criticised.

“I am self-critical enough to admit that I have made mistakes and can take criticism. But the criticism escalated and became irrational. I became a target and once some people tried to blame me for a defeat when I wasn’t even playing.”

Mustafi was particularly put out by remarks made by former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who labelled the former Valencia man ‘the king of blunders’.

He also opened up on the rumours concerning his future and declared himself “open to offers” from German clubs.

“Petit’s comments made me very angry,” he added. “It is one thing to be criticised by fans or media but it is something completely different when it comes from a former player, who knows how difficult it can be on the pitch. I would expect such a player to be a bit more sensible and realise what that kind of criticism can lead to.

“There were talks about leaving the club in the summer. But there was no option that suited everyone. Arsenal had some demands too.

“The next move is extremely important for me to be able to write a positive chapter again. If I move to the wrong place now then the situation may not improve at all. In the future I am open to offers, from the Bundesliga as well.”

A 1-0 victory over Bournemouth on Sunday moved Arsenal into third place in the Premier League table.

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