Ashley Cole singles out Shkodran Mustafi for Jamie Vardy equaliser vs Arsenal

Former Arsenal and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole looks on alongside centre-back Shkodran Mustafi
Shkodran Mustafi was criticised by Ashley Cole (Picture: Getty)

Ashley Cole believes Shkodran Mustafi was at fault for Jamie Vardy’s equaliser in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Leicester.

The former Arsenal and Chelsea left-back felt the Germany international failed to read the danger in behind him before Demarai Gray played the ball in for Vardy to fire home.

Had Mustafi cut the space that Vardy thrives on, Cole believes he the England striker would not have cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opener.

‘I just don’t understand at times, you know Vardy wants that space,’ Cole told Sky Sports.

‘Yes he is good even with his back to goal, he can swivel and shoot, but you can’t give players like Vardy – who thrive off that little space in behind – chances to get across you.

‘They’ve got to all be compact, balanced and cover each other. And you know you’ve got to block that space. It’s too easy. It’s a great cross, but…’

Leicester City's English striker Jamie Vardy (C) shoots past Arsenal's Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez (R) to score the equalising goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 7, 2020.
Vardy equalised for Leicester (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Referencing when Gray was on the ball, he added: ‘I’m seeing both of them.

‘If I’m Mustafi, I’m maybe getting my arm out, I can see Vardy but I’m also covering David Luiz and then that will give Bellerin a little more time for cover. Now look at that, there’s five of them all on the same line.

‘There’s too much space between the six yard box and the penalty spot. There’s too much space for somebody like Vardy that thrives in getting in front of the goal.

‘So I’d be like, “Okay, let him cross it, I’ll cover the space. Anything that comes here, bang, left foot, it’s out of the park”.

‘But you’ve got to cover the danger. They don’t cover the danger and that’s what happens.’

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