Saturday, May 25, 2024

Arteta: Havertz has the capacity to adapt

Kai Havertz’s recent spell of good form has coincided with a run of games in the centre-forward position, but Mikel Arteta believes the summer signing is comfortable in other positions too, and refused to pigeon-hole him as just a number 9.

The German international has 5 goals and 4 assists in his last 7 Premier League games, and ahead of the Gunners clash with Aston Villa this weekend, the Arsenal manager was asked if he need to convince Havertz he could play a part there, after a difficult spell with Chelsea.

“No,” he replied. “I had the first conversation with him, I told him what the idea was and where I could see him play and impact the team.

“He fully agreed with that. He’s very comfortable to change positions. He’s done it with us, he’s done it with Chelsea in the past, with the national team and he’s got this capacity to adapt.

“If he’s feeling good, sometimes it’s about who he’s surrounded by and what we ask him to do more than the position.”

It had originally been widely thought the signing of Havertz was made so he could step into the role vacated by the departure of Granit Xhaka, but despite being more effective up front, Arteta wasn’t ruling out deploying him there in the future.

“I think it depends on the game,” he continued. “It depends on the behaviours of the opponent and what his role is within the day.

“I wouldn’t say he is more comfortable as a 9. I think he has obviously had a tremendous impact as a 9 but he did very similar as a eight.”

What’s clearly different is the end product though, Havertz does seem more effective higher up the pitch, but part of the reason he has been used there is because Gabriel Jesus is struggling with a knee problem that might require surgery in the summer.

Arteta prefers him to Eddie Nketiah up front, but it will be interesting to see where he is used if and when Jesus starts games up front or, indeed, if/when Arsenal bring in another centre-forward in the summer window.

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Havertz was brought in as a direct replacement for Xhaka. Didn’t work.

Probably more by luck than judgement a suitable position has been found for him. And he’s done well there recently.

I would start him against Villa. But Jesus should play alongside Martinelli and Saka in Germany.


I would start Havertz as #8 in Germany, Jesus up top. This is the type of game his workrate and off ball effort and mobility will be key in midfield. Jorgs really struggles against direct teams and while I expect Bayern will try for more possession, for sure they are still going to play a high tempo and a mid block because it was so effective. Havertz compact simple passing game and mobility against counters will be really valuable against both those tactics. I’d also start Tomi as LB. I actually think Jorgs isn’t well suited to either game, as… Read more »


He was never brought in as a replacement for Xhaka.


Who is then playing in last year Xhaka’s position?

Dr. Gooner

Not as a like for like, because Xhaka himself was a stopgap in that role, but as part of the evolution of the position variously called the 8, LCM or the left 8. He wanted Havertz to be a second striker in possession to upgrade the offensive output from there while still giving the team all the OOP graft Xhaka did. The issue was that Havertz is utterly unsuited to building play, while Xhaka is phenomenal at that, so Arsenal lost a lot of offensive thrust with that change. A lot of good analysts saw that coming, and that’s why… Read more »


Impressively confidently incorrect. He was bought for his physical profile, young age and adaptability. The specifics beyond that you don’t know, but we do know that Arteta is meticulous with his planning and that Kai has been effective for us up front and in midfield, depending on the games.



He flopped in midfield and only found his feet when he was asked to cover for the injured Jesus.

Havertz definitely isn’t an all-rounder


Agreed Fats, and to be honest MA was desperate to prove that he didn’t make a mistake by buying him. Therefore, he tried various positions and eventually No 9 clicked purely through trial & error. (Not sure about 69 though)
Regardless, I am happy that he has thrived.


I see, after 8 months you’re still having gripes about your hero being replaced, so you’re glad for any opportunity to question Arteta’s coaching ability. Thanks for clearing that up.


Havertz was brought in for his versatility and footballing intelligence. Tried him as an 8 to replace Xhaka – makes sense given he’s similar build and left footed. But he also started his 1st game for Arsenal in the Community Shield as a 9, acquitting himself very well. To me it’s definitely not luck, it’s down to identifying Havertz’s strengths, and the strong conviction to play him up front despite all the negative noise from fans and media alike.


Well obviously, Arteta has made us the best Arsenal side in 20 years and consecutive year title contenders through pure miscalculation and good fortune. He’s an outrage.




Arteta is great at developing players, as we’ve seen with most of the team.

A Different George

This article is about how opposing managers and analysts view Arsenal now. It is startling–pretty clearly, they all think Arsenal are the strongest team in England:

Billy bob

Can you copy the article here? I can’t access it 😔


It showed up on my feed today as well. Excellent piece, one of the best I’ve seen on there. Made up for that Michael Cox dross piece earlier in the week.


When will the powers that be realize the Chido kid is an option up front? With him and the kid tearing the austiany league apart we shouldn’t be talking about the no.9 position

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