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Mustafi’s warning after shock Barcelona exit

Gunners lead 4-1 ahead of second leg of Europa League quarter-final against CSKA Moscow

12 April, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Shkodran Mustafi: ‘I think it came as perfect timing for us, to see that it is football, and you are never safe, especially when you win at home and have the away game’

SHKODRAN Mustafi says that Barcelona’s shock exit from the Champions League on Tuesday night is a timely reminder that Arsenal can’t afford to take their match against CSKA Moscow lightly.

Roma went into their game at Stadio Olimpico trailing the Spanish giants 4-1 after the first leg at the Camp Nou. Somehow, against all the odds, the Serie A side pulled off a remarkable comeback to win 3-0 and book their place in the semi-finals.

The Gunners are also leading 4-1 ahead of tonight’s (Thursday) Europa League quarter-final second-leg tie in Russia, and Mustafi believes the Barca bungle has come at the “perfect time” for the north Londoners.

“I think it came as perfect timing for us, to see that it is football, and you are never safe, especially when you win at home and have the away game,” he said.

“You have to be very careful how you show up and I think the game we saw on Tuesday was perfect timing for us to show us that we have to be really focused and really concentrated to finish off the job we did in the first leg.

“I did watch it. It isn’t easy when you lose the first game 4-1, especially against Barcelona, a team who can always score.

“I think Roma did a brilliant job but it is nothing that surprises me. Now I have been a few years in professional football and I know this happens often.”

Meanwhile, the FA has overturned the red card Mohamed Elneny picked up at the end of Arsenal’s 3-2 victory against Southampton on Sunday.

The Egypt international was shown a straight red by referee Andre Marriner for raising his hands in a confrontation with Saints defender Cedric Soares in stoppage time at the Emirates Stadium.

Southampton defender Jack Stephens was also sent off in the closing stages of the match for a clash with Jack Wilshere, who received a booking.

A statement from the FA read: “Mohamed Elneny will be available for Arsenal’s next three games after an Independent Regulatory Commission accepted that he was wrongly dismissed for violent conduct against Southampton on Sunday, April 8, 2018.”

In his post-match press conference on Sunday, Wenger said he was “surprised” by the decision to send Elneny off.

He said: “He’s a fair player, not an aggressive player. Has he touched the player in his face or not? I don’t know. If he has done it I think it’s accidental. I was a bit surprised he was sent off.”

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