Mustafi: Arsenal's defence has done a good job
Shkodran Mustafi insists Arsenal's defence is "doing its job" despite its poor record over the season.
Mustafi has been a regular in an Arsenal backline that conceded 51 goals in the Premier League this season, the most in the top five and more than twice as many as Manchester City and Liverpool, keeping just eight clean sheets.
However the top two were the only sides who scored more than them over the season, so given they only missed a place in the top four by a single point, a strong case can be made that their defence cost them a Champions League spot.
They could still claim that place by beating Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku on Wednesday, and Mustafi defended their record, insisting that criticism came because errors in the backline are "the easiest thing to attack."
"If you make 90 percent of your job and in the 10 percent the opponent scores a goal, people forget about the 90 percent," the German centre-back said.
"If in the end of the season you made 70 points it is for a reason. I don't think that if the defence is not doing our job you would make 70 points.
"If a striker misses a goal or a penalty or whatever, you get a new opportunity five or 10 minutes later. For us defenders, if you make one mistake and they score, even if in five minutes you save something on the line, people still won't talk about it. You get to live with it because it is part of our job."
Mustafi went on to point to Arsenal's style of play as a possible reason for their porous backline.
"We are a team who in a lot of games want to press up high and that gives teams opportunities to score goals against us. It gives teams space to try to break on us.
"You have to go through all the details in all the games and see what was wrong. But at the end of the day, even when we try to play out of the back, people say, 'Why are they doing this? Why aren't they just kicking it out from the back?' But that is not our game.
"The coach prefers that we make mistakes but still play our game.
"You are not going to win without an identity and that was how we wanted to play. We wanted to press high and score goals. Then obviously we wanted to not let the other team score. But it is a football game - - other teams want to score as well.
"We didn't reach the position we wanted to reach. That is a disappointing fact. But we still have the opportunity in the Europa League to reach the goal we wanted - - and a trophy as well."