Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Arteta on the joy of working with Havertz and his love for Raya

Did the summer recruitment of Kai Havertz and David Raya improve Arsenal? While it’s a debate that hasn’t yet run its course, there’s a growing appreciation on the terraces for the versatility of the Germany midfielder and the low-key qualities of the Spain goalkeeper.

It’s true, neither set the world alight in the first half of the season – many claiming the departed Granit Xhaka and ousted Aaron Ramsdale shouldn’t have been put out to pasture – but with time, the new boys seem far better attuned to the wants and needs of Mikel Arteta’s constantly evolving tactics.

For his part, the manager couldn’t be more pleased by what he’s seen from the two signings.

“I love him. I love him,” was Arteta’s emphatic response when asked about coaching Havertz.

“I think we all love him as a player, as a person, everything that he brings to the team.”

“There are two or three moments the other day [against West Ham] with [the scoreline] four, five, six [nil up] and how he tracks people and how he’s defending the box and then how he’s attacking the box, the position that he’s constantly threatening the opponent’s box as well, that I really like.

“And you ask him to play as a nine, as a right attacking midfielder, left attacking midfielder, on the base defending, and he does it. It’s just a joy to work with.”

Havertz hasn’t scored or made an assist in any of his last six league appearances (five of them starts). It’s a run that earlier in the season would have had keyboard warriors up in arms, however, with Arsenal looking slick in attack since the turn of the year, the German’s subtle mastery of the less glamorous side of the game is winning people over.

As for Raya, whose permanent transfer from Brentford will be completed for £27 million in the summer, Arteta was similarly impressed.

“Especially what I like about David is what he does in goal and the things that he prevents that sometimes you don’t even see because they don’t happen because he has anticipated them.

“Obviously he had the environment [usurping Ramsdale]that was very challenging. But as well, what I love about him, he’s a player with the courage and the character and personality when even it’s like this that they want to be themselves and they push themselves to do that and he has earned the right to be very respected and I’m really happy that he’s winning.”

Asked to expand on the situations his goalkeeper pre-emptively stops, he joked: “Have a look at the game again. I’m not going to tell you.”

Raya has seven clean sheets to his name in the Premier League so far this campaign. That’s level with Liverpool’s Alisson Becker and just one shy of Jordan Pickford. If Arsenal can stay tight at the back, there’s a decent chance he could pick up the Golden Glove award. That would be some achievement for a player arriving in tricky circumstances.

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To be concluded…


With Kai Harvertz, I really appreciate his availability and versatility. There’s no way we were getting 3 points against Liverpool with Jesus injured, without Kai’s availability and versatility.
Same goes for our best game of the season so far against West Ham.
If there’s any chance of us achieving the impossible this season Harvertz will be key.


He’s playing well and I don’t think he’s even hit peak form for us, he’s still growing in confidence and in understanding what he can do to help this team, reckon we’ll see start seeing the best of Havertz only next season when he’s really settled and starts to forget that toilet of a club he played for before.

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Havertz was brought in to replace Granit. Upgrade? Same? Downgrade? The answer is very clear to all but the blinkered ‘you must not criticise The Arsenal’ sheep, even if we’re talking facts. As for Raya, Arteta’s comments are purposely riddled. He knows managed the Ramsdale situation awfully (blogs says this many times) and the truth is Raya has not been tested at a high pressure to the degree Ramsdale was last season. He’s a nice chap but offers zero of the connection with supporters that Arteta apparently values so highly. Yes, one of our best keepers ever Safe Hands himself… Read more »


We’re still relevant in the title race and in the knockouts of the CL. Are you not entertained??


How can Raya connect with “supporters” that have made up their minds and have zero interest in changing them?


Havertz will always be a lightening rod when things aren’t going well because he needs those around him to perform effectively in the final 3rd. If they don’t, he simply doesn’t contribute enough direct goal threat and looks like baggage.

If we push on this season, and people with bigger football brains than myself (not hard) feel Havertz is integral to that, then I’m more than happy to admit the limits of my understanding.


Give a guy a break. Kai is doing great on his first seaon, and if you can’t see it by now, that’s on you. He’s definitely not downgrade.


Doing ‘great’…. based on what? And to think havertz is not a downgrade to Xhaka based on What we’ve seen so far is wildly optimistic

A Different George

“Based on what?” Be honest, Rob. What did you think of Xhaka until two seasons ago? Even if you were an exception, you have to admit that the great majority of vocal Arsenal supporters (notice the word “vocal”) wanted Xhaka out, wanted *anyone* else in. Is Havertz an upgrade on Xhaka? Not in terms of leadership, in the broadest sense–which is very important. But he is much more mobile, bigger, and technically more assured. Also more subtle in his tactical fouls. Overall, I would say that Havertz is not an upgrade on Xhaka at his best (ie, last season), but… Read more »


Based on stats. Kai being so far ahead on the defensive stats against Granit, is what really stands out to me. Gven that kai moves around so much more than xhaka did. Havertz is essential to our ‘total control’ tactics this season, he keeps the ball in the opps last third, either by short passes or defensive pressures. Also Worth remembering that the last season was Xhaka’s high point, whereas Kai is just getting started. One’s the fans realise how important he’s, they will love him.


And a like Granit as well, he was great for us specially the last 2 seasons.

El Mintero

And yet we are still 3rd…


And yet the season isn’t finish in middle of Feb……

El Mintero

For 65 mil, Kai Havertz has been fkn 💩. End of.


I’d rather have a goalkeeper who actually does his job well, rather than waste his time trying to connect to “supporters” who hate him because he’s replaced their favourite. David has had courage and class, and adds a lot to the way this team plays, and if you can’t see what Kai does then you’re showing your limitations. I was, and still am, Granits biggest fan. I was really sad to see him leave, but I could understand why he left and hope he wins everything with Leverkusen. Kai is a different player with different skill sets and he’s been… Read more »

El Mintero



Supporters have no problem connecting with Raya; he even has a big smile, too. Supporters have no problem acknowledging that we have the best defence in the league, much better than last season, and Raya is a big part of that. Supporters have no problem following the progression of Arteta’s Arsenal and the players he’s managed to raise our level to where it is. Supporters have no difficulty downvoting, as they can tell the difference between genuine criticism and simply sour grapes. We have moved forward this year as a club, again; join us, it is seriously fun.


Honestly, your logic and good sense is starting to get downright annoying.
Try to mix it up with a bit of hyperbolic vitriol every now and again won’t you? A smattering of enraged bile here and there too. Ok?

Jesus of Sao Paulo

How does “connecting with fans” help us in keeping clean sheets? Arsenal have conceded the least goals in the league so far, our goalie is two clean sheets worse of the best in the league, but yes let’s crucify him because he “doesn’t connect with the fans”. Personally I’ll connect with every player that does his work well, and so far I have no complaints about any of our boys this season.

Santi’s Phonebox



“gave us the feeling he would save anything” speak for yourself. He’s a good keeper but he was prone to a howler. Especially early in a game.


Rammer’s Dad! How is the lad holding up?

Yankee Gooner

Raya may not be “connecting with the fans,” but he IS connecting with the forwards to create attacking chances multiple times each game. I started the season angry on Ramsdale’s behalf, but as I’ve watched these games, I’ve become a convert.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

If you don’t see the improvement that Raya has made, you haven’t been watching Arsenal

El Mintero

Go on then…enlighten us…


i like Havertz, a decent acquisition having a hard time from so called supporters although not bothered or overly impressed with by Raya.
If anyone can make them into good players it must be Arteta given the money ‘caughtoffside’ says he earns although how they know is a mystery. Must watch Sky Sports, they are all about guess work.

El Mintero

This interview is quite enlightening. Arteta feeling compelled to defend the obvious mistakes he made in recruiting Havertz and Raya. The lady doth protest etc etc If Kai Havertz is to be continually lauded on his ability to attack and defend “space” then we’ll never win anything. Oh for a kdb… If Raya is being touted for a golden glove then it just proves you could stick any cnt between the sticks for Arsenal right now and they’d be in the running- not on goalkeeping ability but rather due to our defense being so good the goalie has literally nothing… Read more »


Hilarious. 😂

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