Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has aimed a subtle dig at manager Unai Emery by admitting his change of tactics against Vitoria made it harder for the players in their Europa League match on Wednesday.
The Gunners are in a poor run of form at the moment with just one win in their last six in all competitions, and they’ve been losing a lot of leads recently.
They did so again against Vitoria, with Mustafi scoring late on but Arsenal conceding an even later goal to come away with only a 1-1 draw in Portugal.
Speaking afterwards, Mustafi suggested that the players were not helped by shifting to a back three for this game, which he says meant it took them time to settle in and adjust.
“We played with a back three, a system for a long time we didn’t play,” he said, as quoted by the Metro. “So we needed our time a little bit to get the rhythm in.
“In the first half we didn’t do as we wanted. I think we came out better in the second half, had better rhythm, better passing.”
The German centre-back has never been the most reliable performer for Arsenal, but even his strongest critics will probably have some sympathy for him at the moment as Emery’s reign seems to be going so badly.
The Spanish tactician has not lived up to expectations at the Emirates Stadium and it seems unlikely he can last much longer if results and performances don’t improve fast.