London, Sep 4: English Football Association has decided not to punish Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi over his Albanian eagle goal celebration during Sunday’s 3-2 victory at Cardiff, according to reports.
The German defender, born in Germany to an Albanian family from Macedonia, celebrated his 11th-minute goal by locking his open hands together at the thumbs and 'flapping’ his fingers which are understood to be a reference to – the double-headed eagle on Albania’s national flag. Mustafi made the gesture towards assister Granit Xhaka, another Arsenal player with Kosovar-Albanian heritage.
Xhaka's corner finds Mustafi in the box, who gives Arsenal the lead with a powerful header. 1-0 pic.twitter.com/zb636r5uHV— Terje (@TerjeGIFs) September 2, 2018
It was the same gesture which his fellow team-mate Xhaka and Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri did during Switzerland's group stage matches against Serbia. It also attracted a lot of controversies back then.
Due to Fifa's regulations, which suggest making no political symbol in the game, the celebration irked many fans and eventually, the pair were both fined heavily by Fifa as a result. In addition to their fine, Xhaka and Shaqiri also received a warning, for what was eventually deemed unsporting behavior.
Given the FA also share same regulations, it was believed that Mustafi might face punishment for his celebration. But according to reports, the FA have opted against opening a disciplinary case, meaning Mustafi will not face any punishment.
Meanwhile, following the win against Cardiff, the German defender assured his fans that the defensive fragilities will soon be improved.
Arsenal are the only top teams at the moment who are yet to hold a clean sheet. The North London side even have to grind out a tough match against newly-promoted Cardiff City last week with a 3-2 win. But Mustafi has now suggested that his team is facing defensive problems because they are adapting to a new system and it's just a process which will soon be well accommodated by the team.
“It's a process," he said after victory at Cardiff City. “We have tried everything in pre-season but then when you make a mistake in pre-season it's not that bad. In the Premier League, you don't want to make those mistakes, but you have to show your personality because we are a big football club with big players.
“We have to show the personality that we can play from the back because that's our football and that's how it suits us to play. We just have to keep working on that. Hopefully, in a few games, we're going to look a bit more comfortable."