Here’s an interesting thought – Craig Burley believes Arsenal’s summer additions, Kai Havertz and David Raya, have weakened them.
After regaining their competitive edge and place in the Premier League title race last season (although they had to settle for second place), the expectation was that Arsenal would be even better this season. Why were they supposed to be better? The notion was that with an excellent summer transfer window, Mikel Arteta might have a stronger side to redeem the Gunners’ failures of the 2022–23 season.
However, ex-Chelsea player Craig Burley believes that the two transfers (of Raya and Havertz) did not strengthen Arsenal as much as they should have. The ESPN pundit criticized the two after the North London derby last Saturday, where Raya had a game to forget.
“The two big talking points of the summer—Havertz and Raya—are making Arsenal weaker and not stronger,” Burley told ESPN.
“One, Havertz, has been taken out of the team already, and the other we will see. Arsenal are a poorer defensive side with Raya instead of Ramsdale.
“I’m not sure about his positioning for Mykhailo Mudryk’s goal [for Chelsea against Arsenal on Saturday].”
Raya and Havertz have not performed as well as many expected them to. But Havertz appears to be finding his form, as his ball to Saka resulted in our star boy assisting Leandro Trossard’s goal. Let us not forget that in the two games prior to the London derby, he scored against Bournemouth and also produced an assist against Manchester City. Arteta appears to have a strategy for getting him back to his best, which is perhaps why he has relieved him of the strain of starting games.
Raya has looked wobbly and uncomfortable at times in some games he has played (against Lens, Manchester City, and Chelsea). I guess Arteta should bench him for the time being.
Obviously, the two aren’t instant hits, but they may play a significant part in Arsenal’s ambitions if they fully adapt and strive to play at the high levels many know they can.