Saturday, June 22, 2024

“Give him support and more tools” – Arteta on getting the best out of Havertz

At the start of September, Mikel Arteta came out swinging in support of Kai Havertz, declaring his love for the Germany international and calling on supporters to back the summer signing from Chelsea.

He made the comments knowing full well that sections of the media and the fanbase were already grumbling that the 24-year-old wasn’t living up to expectations following his £62.5 million move from Chelsea.

Four weeks and five appearances later, people still seem unconvinced that Havertz is a worthy successor to Granit Xhaka in the left-eight position. If his team selections are anything to go by, even Arteta has been wavering a little, dropping the player to the bench for the win at Everton and the North London derby.

Everybody is waiting for something to click. But nobody can quite put their finger on what that something is.

As things stand, the boss remains supportive and patient, pointing out that Havertz hasn’t had much time to get used to his new surroundings or Arsenal’s playing style. It certainly hasn’t helped his cause that injuries to teammates have robbed the German of a chance to develop the ‘automatisms’ required to make ‘Artetaball’ tick.

Facing the media ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, Arteta was asked how he plans to get the best out of Havertz.

“We try to help him as much as possible. Be next to him, give him the tools, give him the confidence and give him the minutes to exploit his talent.

“There are so many parts of his game that he’s doing exceptionally well and we know the ones that needs to keep improving.

“As always, with any players, give him support, especially when you see a player that does what he does every single day, the way he tries, the way he applies himself. Give him support, more tools and if they don’t perform it’s up to us.”

Put to him that Havertz needs to play himself into form, Arteta agreed.

“Yes, and he needs to glide within the team. The amount of time he’s played in the left unit with those players is three times, four times,” said the manager.

“We’re going to have to carry on doing that. And certainly, we have the experience of that with many other players. And try to give him as much support and confidence as we possibly can because that’s going to help him for sure.”

Arteta was later asked how he’s starting to get the best out of Reiss Nelson, a player who looked destined to leave the club but was rewarded with a new long-term contract after dramatic interventions as a substitute last season.

The winger has been down the pecking order behind Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard but showed on Wednesday night that he can be a matchwinner as a starter. The winger’s early goal against Brentford in the Carabao Cup showed a killer instinct that was matched by an impressive defensive display.

“To find consistency you need to be available,” said Arteta of a player that has struggled with injuries.

“If you miss periods, you know your peak of form is going to be disrupted and obviously then you’re going to have less chances to play.

“He had a niggle in pre-season, he was out and now he’s come back and he’s finding form.

“We need him, he has special qualities to play in wide areas in both positions and especially with the situation we have now with the front players, it’s been really important.

“We have to see him starting [games] as well,” said Arteta when asked if he sees the player more as an impact substitute.

“We want to have a team that is more unpredictable and that has the resources to rotate. They have to become starters as well, if not, it’s not enough.”

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How many Chelsea rejects do we need to understand that it’s not working out?


Salah was a Chelsea reject once. De Bruyne too.


Shame they never came to Arsenal.


Indeed. And one of the reasons they never came was because at the time we couldn’t afford them / the divided ownership (Usmanov + Kroenke). I really struggle to understand the mindset of people who are instantly negative about a situation. Grealish was played sparingly during his first season with Citeh and cost a fair bit more than 65 million. We don’t have the same “strength in depth”. And it’s not like supporters should feel personally aggrieved about any perceived waste of money. He’s not even playing that poorly… although he does appear low on confidence, which at this level… Read more »


But if they did you would’ve just cussed them down and not given them a chance anyway.


OK then, name me a striking success: William Gallas (2006), Lassana Diarra (2007), Yossi Benayoun (2011), Petr Cech (2015), David Luiz (2019), Willian (2020), Jorginho (2023), Kai Havertz (2023).


John Hollins

I miss santi cazorla

No. Salah was a Roma success. But we directly buy chelsea garbage.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Please do not call players. For all the downvotes I get, I don’t.

Heavenly Chapecoense

.. call players garbage….

Heavenly Chapecoense

Rice!!! as an academy player.


And George Graham.


They aren’t used cars manufactured by Chelsea.. We get players and try to fit them into a system of football (that’s been like it for around the last 25 years of my life as a gooner). The Chelsea way is very different from what we do, so it takes time (in dynamic circumstances as in football) for players to get into it.. We had bought experienced guys from them, and some of them flopped (Cech wasn’t a flop).. Havertz is a different signing, but if you want to stick to your prejudices, please give it a rest for at least… Read more »


Fair statement Almunia4Pires, Cech, Willian, Benayoun, Gallas, Luiz to name but a few duds we got lumbered with from them West London C*nts , now we have spent a small amount £s less on the combined total of Madison/Ward Prowse for a player who’s performances for us has been woeful, yeh get the thumbs down wishful thinkers brigade that he only needs a good game to get him going as to see why Miki spent so much on him but we don’t seem to have learnt a lesson from our Pepe fiasco, no doubt Miki’s got to play him over… Read more »


I dont get the very large amount of doubt regarding Havertz. Ge hasn’t had a G/A, but, his aerial stats, build up, hold up play, mindset and controlling his emotions throughout the game is exceptional.

Goals and assists will also be necessary but there is so much he is already doing really well?


His mindset, that’s what’s holding him back, he doubts himself.

Mayor McCheese

You have lovely lips, Rob.

om suley

“you got a purdy mouth boy”


Agree. I’ve thought about the criticisms we’ve gotten recently about Mikel not being as “ruthless” with him as he has been with e.g. Ramsdale or ESR. That’s probably true to some extent, but maybe the ruthlessness has a nuance to it that we don’t see in terms of the potential Mikel sees in a player should he reach his maximum ability, i.e maybe he’s saying “I’m happy to drop player x if i think player y *could* do better if shown confidence and given a run in the team” . You or I might not see the same potential in… Read more »


The respective situations of those players you mentioned (of all players, for that matter) are completely different which implies that different interventions are needed in different measures. I find that a completely logical conclusion. On the wider point re. those that criticise Havertz, for a long period of time none of us knew what successive managers saw in Xhaka and then it just clicked. So I’d say most of us have no effing clue! But what’s a little thing like rationality in this world of obtuse opinion and hate (should highlight, this isn’t aimed at you just general thoughts!)


100%. I meditate almost every day among other things to train my mind’s ability to observe emotions before reacting to them, where the instinctive reaction is often to just spew out whatever thought rises as a result of that emotion. And I still often don’t manage to stop myself from doing so, so I get why some fans are like that. We all get emotional as fans when our team doesn’t perform given how much we invest in it, and if we can’t hold those emotions someone has to be the target of them. Unfortunately Kai is the easiest target… Read more »


Well said! If any fan thinks that they care more about the club, winning and players than the manager and those players….thinking THAT is a far more suspect condition of the fans than than any issues our players have. It is a game to all of us after all, not our employment and responsibility. COYG!

A Different George

How many times did we read statements to the effect of “I don’t want to ever see Granit Xhaka play for Arsenal again?” I don’t care that Havertz came from Chelsea. I care about his very good runs (that’s why he gets into scoring situations), his exceptional defensive contributions, especially on set pieces, and his superior technical ability. I also care that from lack of confidence or some other reason, he has been very poor at finishing. I do not think Arteta’s judgement is infallible. But he is more like to be right than most of us.


I bet these would be same players looking at Henry and Bergkamp nascent Arsenal career and called them garbage.


Same people

Bleeding gums murphy

Talk about scrapping the barrel, Aerial stats, mindset and controlling his emotions. Cheese and bread. I want it to work and have been willing him to show some quality but he has looked rank average at best. I will continue to hope he can cut it but refuse to go into complete denial. He’s not looked up to it. Bench him and when we are flying and oozing confidence he can come on and hopefully play himself into form and prove he is good enough. At the moment trying to force is very questionable. I shall remain respectful for now… Read more »


True, at least he is doing a lot of useful stuff while we await him finding his shooting boots.


It took Henry, as a striker, 8 games to get his first goal? Havertz isn’t messing up. He’s not falling over the ball or missing a bunch of opportunities.


Bergkamp took 7 games…


Bergkamp might be an even better comparison, how many games did he need to score? And he was a second striker/number 10, no defensive responsibility like Havertz has.

Guns Up

I’m not having a go at him, but let’s be objective – he’s missed several very good chances, and some of them badly. Hopefully after he gets one, the floodgates will open.


Against Fulham he missed from 4 yards in front of an open goal. Against Man U he kicked the air in front of an open goal. Last season he was second in the PL in Big Chances Missed with 14 and second underperformer in his personal xG with -5.1 goals.


If he keeps getting the chances the goals will come.

We’ve seen the reverse happen with Auba in the past… In the same way that overperforming xG is unsustainable for the majority of players, so is underperforming it.


Maybe if you post X-number of negative comments about him he will see the error of his ways and start banging them in


He’s definitely overperforming his xNegativeComments


Brilliant. Honestly, or shamefully, we could keep stats on this with Arsenal players and fans/pundits.

A Different George

Except for Mustafi, I don’t think any recent player was attacked more often–and often viciously–than Xhaka.


Kolasinac got a lot of beef too. Although the biggest one for me was that left back Andros Santos who tried to swap shirts with man u RVP at half time. what a donut.


He did like a doughnut.


It’s not just about scoring though. He looks very short of confidence making his all round game very average at the moment. If he doesn’t play, we won’t miss him. Same can’t be said for Rice or Odegaard.


Let’s try to look at this objectively through his stats: Workrate, Defense & Positioning: Tackles+Int per 90 – 2.9 (actually good). Defensively he is working hard. Touches per 90 – 47 (lowest among Ars mids – suggests his positioning needs work) Pass recieved per 90 & dist received – 35.1 & 4.88 (ranks 208 and 157; average; worst among Ars mids; again positioning). Aerial challenges 10 won 9 lost – 53% (not bad, but considering he’s 190cm guy maybe you’d expect him to win a few more; still he’s going for them). My take from this is workrate is good… Read more »


I do hope we’ll hear you admit how wrong you were about Havertz as you commendably did with Arteta! 😉


Seriously, why would I care? If Havertz turns world class, Arsenal is better. That’s what I want – I want him to succeed. Jury is out whether he does. I said when we signed Havertz, I was optimistic we could get the best out of him, then watched him play and I’ve been very disappointed. An extra hard part to watch with Kai is just his general malaise. He looked happy as a youngster at Leverkusen – and played at another level. He looked mostly unhappy and sullen at Chelsea. At Arsenal he has looked mostly sullen. I could deal… Read more »


Agreed, and as I noted about Arteta, you began to dish out as much praise as you had criticism before, and I appreciate fans who have the wherewithal to do both. You go hard in your criticisms, so I look forward to reading the praise when the time comes (which will be soon, I think). With respect to your actual opinion, I think it would be more valuable to compare Havertz’s stats with Xhaka’s stats last season on whatever metric you like, as the two players are performing the same or similar roles (and clearly Xhaka knocked the goals out… Read more »


Sure (I can never resist a good stat dive) – Xhaka (22/23) v Kai (23/24) v Vieira (23/24): Tackles+Int per 90 – 1.5 v 2.9 v 1.6 Touches per 90 – 57 v 47 v 53 Pass received/90 – 42 v 35 v 42 Aerial challenges – 55% v 52% v 0/0 Pass% – 85 v 87 v 81 progressive distance/90 – 178 v 88 v 106 Takeon/90 / takeon suc%- 0.84/54% v 1.22/20% v 3.7/29% Carries/90 – 33 v 28 v 35 Shot Creation Actions/90 – 3.3 v 2.0 v 2.1 Assist or Goal creation actions/90 – 0.5 v 0 v 1.1 expected assist/90 – 0.2 v 0.1… Read more »


P.s. it is not just the goals offensively, he’s just offering nothing dynamic. He isn’t taking players on, his passing is very conservative, and he’s not driving forward with the ball. That IMO has been the bigger negative impact than the goals. He’s slowing our attacks down. That’s where he really needs to improve, take the shackles off and go for it more. He’s meant to be a dynamic attacker, but he’s playing like a slow plodder with no vision ATM.


He’s not even a striker!


He certainly proved that at Chelsea.


Sorry but I doubt Havertz will ever impress for Arsenal. It’s £65m down the drain I’m afraid.
Hope I’m proven wrong though


Given the tone of your comment, whether consciously or not, I suspect you actually hope you’re proven right. Hope you recover from your £65 million losses 👊

Santi’s Phonebox

£62.5m. There, proved you wrong.


Mikel Arteta knows more about football than I ever will. When it comes to Havertz, as a fan it would be easy for me to form a lazy, half-baked opinion. I’ve never been a professional manager, i’ve never been a professional player. So what the hell do I know? I trust Arteta. He wants Havertz to succeed. Hopefully it’ll happen.


You’re allowed to not like what you see though. I’m 100% behind Havertz too and I think he’ll come good if we support and give him time, but it’s not a crime to respectfully say he hasn’t hit the ground running.


Thanks for the tools. I was excited when we signed him and hoped we would see the Bayer Leverkusen version but that hasn’t come yet. I still have a rusty screw driver and a bunch of allen keys though if he needs them

Dr. Gooner

I don’t think the Leverkusen version is coming back. That was when he was 6’1”. His body has changed too much since then. The overall quality is the same though, he just has to use it in other ways.


Let’s not be apologist for him or scapegoat him – but what made us title challengers last year, was the fact that finally after many years, we finally had 11 competent players on pitch and not one passenger. Havertz is clearly one right now, everyone else is carrying their weight. And there can be no arguments around it, just look at a much more defensive and less physically gifted Xhaka’s G/A output in the same position/formation. Plus Xhaka’s excellent defensive covering and leadership. Reality is, he is struggling with the same exact thing he was struggling at Chelsea – his… Read more »

89 again

I disagree that he is a passenger. Actually his contributions have been ok outside of G/A. He absolutely needs to improve his output but its also true that the entire team is underperforming – making it more difficult to do so. Personnel and system have changed (necessarily) and along with that we have lost some chemistry. Only way to get that back is with time, and the best way for us to undermine that (or more specifically those of us in the stadium) is through lack of support.

Dr. Gooner

He’s certainly not a passenger from a work rate perspective.

Watch the second half at Brentford again. There are glimpses.


He definitely is looking better and doing productive things (aerial battles won, defensive effort, etc.) and I know you don’t measure a player’s performance solely on goals and assists, but for me the biggest area where he needs to step it up on offense is being more aggressive and assertive with his decisions and play. Many times a one touch pass to someone is great to keep the ball moving and the defensive off balance, but receiving the ball, dribbling and progressing it forward with dribbling then passing or shooting is as effective if not more so. Havertz continually passes… Read more »


Havertz can certainly do more for the team, but I also think the team can do more for Havertz. He probably would have had a couple of assists with better finishing/anticipation from our forwards. Even against Spurs, he put in a great cross and Nketiah was on his heels. Also think he makes many dangerous runs off the ball but we never look to find him.


True, and also his chemistry with Martinelli hasn’t been great, for me that’s been one of the biggest issues in both of them having middling starts to their season (Havertz more so). I think both of them do much better if the other player in this “left side partnership” is a more creative passer and dribbler, e.g. Trossard who can player in either of their positions (but doesn’t give you physically ir defensively what Havertz does) or Vieira. So maybe the secret to unlocking this is simply playing them separately, e.g. in combos Vieira+Martinelli, Havertz+Vieira, Havertz+Trossard or Trossard+Martinelli. A bit… Read more »


Vieira is yet to hit that level of consistency


I think Martinelli did a lot better with Jesus and Trossard at CF than with Nketiah last season. I appreciate that both my comments could be seen as knocks on Eddie and I don’t mean them to be, but I think Jesus and Trossard fit our style a lot more and both would help Martinelli/Havertz.

A Different George

I think the biggest issue on the left side is Zinchenko’s absence. I would like to see a run of games with Zinchenko, Havertz, and Martinelli and with Gabriel Jesus in the side.


Truth is, he gives Martinelli too much to do because he’s never available to receive ball to feet and combine play the way Ødegaard does on the other side with Saka.
He’s frustrating to watch at the moment and that’s the truth


Havertz will never make it at Arsenal. The best thing to do now is to cut and run. You had a brain fart, Arteta, and now you’re paying the price.

If Arteta is not the Arsenal manager this time next year it will be for two reasons: 1. Eddie and 2. Havertz.

Time to swallow your pride, Mikel


Cut and run?
It’s not possible to do anything until January absolute earliest.
I don’t understand why when we’ve invested so much into him we wouldn’t just support him and give him a chance?
Seems very premature to cast judgement right now after a handful of games.
You were probably someone who thought Odegaard wasn’t great and we didn’t need him because of ESR.


Where would we be as a club now if we “cut and run” on Henry and Bergkamp during their first games for us? Support our players, even those who had the misfortune of having to be at Chelsea, and they will become our stars at Arsenal. That’s the way we have run the club, with class and harmony, so try to believe in those ideals as a supporter and we could go very far indeed.


I hate all this positivity around Havertz: hello?, he’s rubbish!

Comparing his arrival at Arsenal to Bergkamp and Henry is a joke: both those players came to the club from abroad and needed time to adjust to the PL. Havertz had spent three years at Chelsea stinking the place out. He was crap there and he’s crap at Arsenal.

Just as with Eddie, Arteta is trying to prove that he’s smarter than everyone else by getting a tune out of Havertz. But he won’t.


These comments are wildly funny!

Santi’s Phonebox

Just say it, you want to say it, go ahead.

Giuseppe Hovno

i hope in a year’s time someone else digs up this comment and reminds you of it. (it won’t be me, life is too short)

A Different George

Do you honestly believe there is any chance whatsoever that Arteta will be fired in the next year? Is that a reasoned contribution to the discussion or just trolling?

Alberto Balsam Mendez Rodriguez

Havertz hasn’t had a settled position for several years now,
it’s not going to happen overnight.


The theory I have formed recently, and I may be wrong, is this. Xhaka’s left-8 role was a very highly developed role tactically speaking. It built on the strengths of Granit who was already tactically top notch. This made him a “pillar” in the structure of the team. Much of this, despite being in a “more advanced” role, was still very important tactically from a defensive and structural point of view. All of this has to be learnt and executed very quickly by Havertz, who has not even been used in midfield before. He is also only 24, same as… Read more »


Good theory, and Xhaka exuded confidence in the role last year and took his chances when they popped up very well. Havertz will follow suit. Arteta loves him, his teammates love him, the fans will learn to love him, too — just like they did with Xhaka.


Let’s hope so! I would love to hear an alternative analysis from someone other than “oh he’s sh*t, get rid of him”.

Dr. Gooner

All great points. I think the cautious and inhibited applies to the team at large but he’s the most obvious example of it.


The commment section here is extremely annoying and disingenuous. Why can’t we just be honest Kai has been bad for us and really Chelsea if he improves then we’ll praise..I don’t know what is wrong with honesty.


Kai has not looked like a 65mil signing thus far so yes we can say he has been “bad”. However, he has done a lot of things well and I prefer to believe that Mikel knows what he is doing rather than being reactionary. There is a lot of ground to cover between “rubbish” and “great”. Also a lot of context. Maybe he’ll fail, maybe not.

Jason Berger

Exactly , if he had performed the way he has at Man United or Tottenham we would be laughing at how shit he was … but because he’s here fans are over the moon that he wins a few headers … he’s 6’4 he should be ! He’s not good enough at the moment and shouldn’t be starting

Dr. Gooner

Kai Havertz, the polarizing lightning rod of Arsenal in 2023. We always gotta have a player we can argue about endlessly. Both sides of the argument are over stated, as ever with this type of discussion. I want to talk about what I saw from him against Brentford, which was probably his best game for Arsenal so far. First, the optics. Seeing him slowly jog around with his head slightly bowed can be triggering for a football fan especially if you already think poorly of a player. But I lost count of the times I I thought he was just… Read more »


Good observations.
Only slight issue I have is that if indeed he is thin-skinned, Arteta will have to get that thickened up. That’s elite-level sport.


Well said. Thought he had an even better game for us v. PSV though, did a ton of good stuff, won the ball up the field that set up the 4th goal I think and should’ve had an assist on top if it wasn’t for someone (Jesus?) missing badly


Guy needs a few games on the left (of the bench and preferably out of the team sheet)

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

This is getting old already.
He’s not a toddler, he’s a premier league player. You were a bit more blunt talking about ESR saying he has to continue his levels to progress and get his chance. Do they same with Havertz, stop telling us to give him cuddles!


A lot of Arsenal players down the years have had less than perfect starts in the red and white shirt.

Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry both famously took some time to find their shooting boots, but there are many others.

And, for the brain dead amongst you out there, I am NOT comparing Havertz with the aforementioned players in terms of ABILITY – I’m just saying that it takes time for any player to settle in at a new club and very few, if any, hit the ground running. Those that do are often the exception to the rule.

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