Mustafi tells Arsenal to block out Wenger protests

Arsenal players have been urged to "close the ears" when they take on West Ham by defender Shkodran Mustafi.

Shkodran Mustafi wants Arsenal to block out any anti-Arsene Wenger protests when they take on West Ham in the Premier League.

Arsenal have only won three of their last 10 games across all competitions going into Wednesday's league match at the Emirates Stadium, with the FA Cup now their last realistic chance of silverware.

There is uncertainty around Wenger, who is under intense pressure with his contract due to expire at the end of the season. The Frenchman has made a decision on whether to stay, but is yet to announce it publicly.

Supporters are planning a protest march before the game, while fans have been urged not to take their seats until 13 minutes before kick-off - marking the number of years since Arsenal last won the title in 2004.

But Mustafi does not want to think about any of that, telling Sky Sports: "The most important thing is to close the ears and focus on what is happening on the pitch.

"We can't focus on the speculation and everything around us. It's the wrong time. We should just focus on what's happening on the pitch.

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"Wenger has been here 20 years, he knows what he has to do. Now it's the players who have to go on the pitch and put in the performances.

"If he says he wants to leave or wants to stay, is it really going to help or will it make it worse? Who knows? It's difficult to speak about those things."

Mustafi, who scored in Sunday's 2-2 home draw with Manchester City, continued: "We are not only paid for playing football but to be professional as well. It is part of our job to have a little bit thicker skin. 

"In the days that we live in now, it is difficult because you see it everywhere, on TV, then you have social media where you see a lot of things. Sometimes you don't want to see it, even when you want to just text with friends or look at pictures that your family posted or whatever. 

"You get to see pictures that maybe you don't want to see and then you read them and it might make you think about things that you should not think about. 

"We are professionals and we get paid for that as well, to be professional on that part as well, not only on the pitch. That is what we have to do - be professionals."

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