Mark Lawrenson: Arsenal can’t blame Shkodran Mustafi for poor run

Mark Lawrenson doesn't believe Shkodran Mustafi's injury is solely to blame for Arsenal's struggles

Mark Lawrenson has played down the significance of Shkodran Mustafi’s absence following Arsenal’s back-to-back Premier League defeats.

The Germany international suffered an injury in the first half of Arsenal’s 3-1 win against Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month.

Arsenal lost their first Premier League fixture since August to end their 14-game unbeaten run after the Gunners lost 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park.

Alexis Sanchez broke the deadlock on the blue half of Merseyside before goals from Seamus Coleman and Ashley Williams sealed three points.

The Gunners failed to make a swift return to winning ways at The Etihad last weekend after Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling cancelled out Theo Walcott’s opener to seal three points for Manchester City.

Arsenal will host Tony Pulis’ in-form West Brom side at the Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day as Arsene Wenger’s men look to record a first win in three attempts.

Former Liverpool defender Lawrenson was adamant that Mustafi’s injury is no excuse for their poor results.

“Arsenal led against Everton and Manchester City last week but lost both matches,” Lawrenson told BBC Sport.

“I know injured centre-back Shkodran Mustafi did not play in either defeat but what happened to them surely cannot be down to them missing one player.

“Collectively, I think their whole team is having a very average period. Even Alexis Sanchez cannot lift them on his own.”

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