By Matt Farr
Arsenal recorded a comfortable 3-1 victory over Stoke on Saturday but lost Shkodran Mustafi to injury in the process – and fans are anxious about how long he will be sidelined.
Mustafi has been an integral part of an Arsenal defence that has conceded just 15 goals in the Premier League this season.
The German defender suffered what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the victory, and was replaced by Hector Bellerin after just 25 minutes. The Spaniard had just returned from an ankle injury, pleasing Arsenal fans, but they were also disappointed to lose another defensive star.
Mustafi joins Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla on Arsenal’s injury list.
At the full-time whistle, Arsene Wenger suggested Mustafi will be out for around three weeks, meaning he will miss the upcoming games against Everton and Manchester City at least.
Arsenal fans remain optimistic that their side can keep their momentum going in his absence but are concerned about the team’s latest injury scare.
Here are some of their messages on Twitter:
Mustafi injury is the only downside. All the goals were real quality. Momentum building, I hope #COYG
— Tom Flavin (@tomflavin) December 10, 2016
I hope mustafi is gonna be fine for the next game
— lonely star (@Kvng_khali) December 10, 2016
I’m hoping Mustafi’s hammy isn’t too bad. Either way he’ll probably miss the Christmas fixtures. We’ll probably see Holding at some point.
— Will_XL (@Prince_Will) December 10, 2016
How many home games have we had dodgy penalties given against us? Good win in the end. Fingers crossed Mustafi’s injury is nothing serious.
— Darren Rossborough (@Rozzi_98) December 10, 2016
The enforced winter break that beckons for Mustafi will do him a lot of good in the long run. We are well covered with Gabriel and Holding.
— Dr Mohammed Amali (@MoAmali) December 10, 2016
Hope we don’t miss Mustafi too much over next month. We have Gabriel who could slot in with Kos as Bellerin now fit or cld play holding #afc
— Richard Allen (@allen_gunners) December 10, 2016
Gutted Mustafi is out for three weeks, but I’ve been that impressed with Gabriel lately I’m confident he can slot in for him comfortably.
— Chris (@Gooner_DB) December 10, 2016
Last thing we need is a ‘bad’ hamstring injury for Mustafi
— Vishal (@Vishal_20_98) December 10, 2016
Charlie Adam gave Stoke a surprise lead from the penalty spot following Granit Xhaka’s controversial challenge on Joe Allen.
Theo Walcott (42) and Mesut Ozil (49) hit back either side of the break to put Arsenal in control, but Stoke continued to push forward in hope of an equaliser.
After Peter Crouch came close, substitute Alex Iwobi sealed the victory for the Gunners with 15 minutes to go.
The victory saw Arsenal move to the top of the Premier League table, level on points with Chelsea, who play West Brom on Sunday.
The Gunners remain unbeaten in the league since the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening day of the season.
In other Arsenal news, here are three things we learned from Arsenal’s victory over Stoke.