Arsenal have been handed an injury blow ahead of their FA Cup final with Chelsea after it was confirmed that Shokdran Mustafi will miss the Wembley showpiece through injury.
It’s been far from perfect for Arsenal since the Premier League resumed, but along with their slight upturn in form – occasionally – there has been a slight improvement in the German’s displays too – also, occasionally.
But Mikel Arteta must now contend with a do-or-die final against the Blues without Mustafi, who has not recovered from a hamstring strain he sustained in the semi-final victory over Manchester City. As you’d expect, he is also out of Sunday’s Premier League clash with Watford, as the club confirmed.
Following defeat to Aston Villa in their most recent top flight clash, the Gunners now have no chance of qualifying for the Europa League through the league. With finances stretched as they are, the significance of the FA Cup final is greater than ever for Arsenal – who must overcome Frank Lampard’s men or miss out on the European football entirely.
With Arteta adopting a back three of late, the likely outcome will be that Rob Holding comes into the side as a direct replacement. The Englishman has only featured seven times in the league this season having struggled to wrestle his way into the starting lineup following a long-term injury, but will relish the opportunity of coming up against Chelsea at Wembley.
One of his most impressive displays for the club came during the 2017 FA Cup final, where – in a back three – he helped Arsenal win 2-1 and claim their record breaking 13th title in the competition.
There was some welcome news for Arteta on the injury front, with Bernd Leno due back in full training in the coming days after being stretchered off against Brighton. Pablo Mari, Gabriel Martinelli and Calum Chambers are looking at a return sometime by the end of the calendar year.
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