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Look: Former Arsenal Player Shkodran Mustafi Returns To Emirates As Pundit

Look: Former Arsenal Player Shkodran Mustafi Returns To Emirates As Pundit

Arsenal played out an enthralling 2-2 draw in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich. In an action-packed game full of drama, the Gunners failed to consolidate after taking an early lead through Bukayo Saka and were given a reality check by the Bundesliga heavyweights.

It was an extremely fast-paced, end-to-end game in which either of the sides could have won. Arsenal were furious for seemingly being denied a late penalty – which could’ve given them the win heading to the Allianz Arena. However, what was most notable is how vulnerable the Gunners looked defensively.

For a side that has kept four clean sheets in seven Champions League games before this, only conceding four goals, they looked uncharestically shaky. Their midfield was overrun by Bayern’s blistering counter-attacks. Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane tormented their backline with their movement, while Serge Gnabry regained his swagger against his former club.

Arsenal did not look the impenetrable defensive monster they’ve been in recent weeks. Well, if one was to ask some Gooners, that is because of the presence of a ghost of their past at the stadium. It turns out that former Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi was actually present at the Emirates for this huge Champions League game.

The former Gunner shocked many fans by being spotted on the Emirates Stadium pitch before the game. Mustafi has a bit of a notorious reputation among the Arsenal faithful, mostly due to his controversial stint at the club. The German centre-back earned a bad reputation for making horrible mistakes, especially in big matches, and some fans believed he held the club down before leaving in 2021.

Sofia, Bulgaria – November 1, 2016: Arsenal’s Defender Shkodran Mustafi challenges Palomino Natanael during UEFA Champions League football match between Ludogorets Razgrad and Arsenal at Bulgaria’s National Stadium.

Mustafi saw his career spiral downward after leaving North London. In the last few years, he’s had forgettable stints at Schalke and Levante and been persistently plagued with injuries. The 31-year-old was released by Levante last summer and is still a free agent looking for a way back into football. 

But he didn’t come to the Emirates Stadium as to root for the Gunners or try to find himself a new club – but on duty as a pundit. It turns out that Mustafi has actually been working as a pundit for Amazon Prime Video Germany for the last year or so. For those unknowing, Amazon Prime currently holds the rights to broadcast 17 live Champions League matches in Germany every season – with DAZN holding the rights to broadcast the bulk of matches.

Mustafi has been working in a freelance role for Amazon Prime Video Germany to be an expert pundit for major Champions League matches. Before this, he had also worked as a pundit for Borussia Dortmund’s match against Newcastle United in the Champions League group stages.  Moreover, he’s also been working as a pundit for a few Bundesliga matches since last year to keep a source of income alive.

The ex-Germany centre-back wore a stylish full coat and dressed in all-black for this huge game featuring his former side. Mustafi, of course, knows all too well about the relevance of this fixture – having been part of the Arsenal team that tasted a 10-2 aggregate loss to Bayern in the 2016/17 Champions League Round of 16 stages.

The centre-back provided some expert analysis before the game, as well as featuring in Amazon’s half-time show and post-match show as well. He was there to deduce the goals or key events and also noted that Saka should’ve earned a late penalty and that the winger is not one who ‘falls easily’ – having played with him for a little bit during his time at Arsenal.

Mustafi also seems to have angered a lot of Bayern fans, who lambasted him for his post-match comments and there have been calls for him to stop being called as an expert in such Champions League matches. Well, with neither Arsenal nor Bayern fans wanting the ex-Germany star anywhere near the pitch for the second leg – it remains to be seen if Mustafi gets this punditry gig for the heated second leg at the Allianz Arena.