ARSENAL have been handed an injury boost after scans revealed Shkodran Mustafi’s ankle injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
The defender was stretchered off in the 2-1 victory over Bournemouth in the FA Cup on Monday, but scans revealed there is no lasting ligament damage.
The scans will be a boost for manager Mikel Arteta who has had to deal with a string of injury problems to his defence.
Callum Chambers is out for the season, while Rob Holding is recovering from a similar knee injury.
Hector Bellerin has also suffered with injury problems meaning Mustafi has become a vital part of the Arsenal boss’s plans.
It will mean the German centre-back will be out for weeks rather than months.
The 27-year-old has only made 13 appearances in all competitions this season but has started the last three, with Arteta giving the defender a chance to prove his worth.
New signing Pablo Mari will give Arteta another option as he looks to tighten a defence up, which has only kept four Premier League clean sheets this campaign.
Mari has joined on loan from Brazilian side Flamengo with an option to buy.
Arsenal had initially agreed to sign the Spaniard, 26, permanently but then wanted to make it a loan deal instead.
Speaking about the move, Mari said: “When I spoke to my agent, it was a big thing that Arsenal were interested in me.
“This is one of the best clubs in the world, so Im absolutely delighted to be joining.
“Im really looking forward to playing in this jersey and helping my team.”
Arsenal haven’t kept a clean sheet since they beat Leeds United 1-0 in the FA Cup and Arteta will know the defence needs urgent attention if they are to break into the Europa League places.
The fragile defence has led to 12 draws in the league this season, including the last three matches, two more than Wolves with 10.
Arteta’s side travel to Burnley next but haven’t won away from home since the 3-1 win over West Ham at the beginning of December.