Shkodran Mustafi has passed on a special good luck message to Arsenal’s squad ahead of their FA Cup final clash with Chelsea and urged his team-mates to fight ‘like a pack of wolves’ to claim the trophy at Wembley.
The 28-year-old has often been painted as a figure of fun since his move from Valencia back in 2016 but has fought for his Arsenal future this season and established himself as a key member of Mikel Arteta’s defence in recent months.
However, a devastating hamstring injury in the dying moments of Arsenal’s semi-final victory over Manchester City earlier this month means the German centre-will play no part in this evening’s encounter.
One of Sead Kolasinac or Kieran Tierney is expected to start alongside David Luiz and Rob Holding in a makeshift back-three as the Gunners look to win the competition for a 14th time in what is a repeat of the 2017 final.
‘Today is the day. I think we all know that the season didn’t go as we wanted, it was a very strange season but today we have one more opportunity to make it a positive one,’ Mustafi said in a video on Twitter ahead of kick-off.
‘I think everyone knows how important this game is and how important it is to win a trophy for this club.
‘I think that during the season we had difficult times, we received a lot of criticism from everywhere and we tried to use that as motivation to go again and again.
Earlier this week, Mustafi opened up on his ‘disappointment’ at missing out on a cup final for a second time in his Arsenal career but revealed that surgery to his hamstring had been successful.
‘After the match against Leicester City, I said that there is nothing more painful than not winning a game you deserved to win,’ he said.
‘I had to learn the hard way, there is something even worse. Missing out the FA Cup final for the second time.
‘The good news is that the surgery went well and that I am not the type of guy who gives up easily.
‘After the disappointment I accepted the situation and I am now fully focused to recover as quick as possible to be back on the pitch.’
Mustafi also missed out on the final through injury three years ago when Arsenal beat Chelsea to overtake Manchester United as the most successful team in the history of the competition.
The centre-half is set to miss the start of the next Premier League season and is expected to return in October.
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