Arteta – Please don’t use Havertz in midfield again, put Jesus on the wing

On the weekend Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal squad lost their first game of 2024 in the Premier League after 12 undefeated games. It was a tough loss to take and after being so good and consistent for months on end, came as quite a shock to everyone. Being at such a vital part in the season, the game was a must win, and the fact that Liverpool had also lost to Crystal Place 1-0 earlier in the afternoon, made the loss an even tougher one to take.

The first half for me was typical Arsenal this year and showed how much dominance and confidence we have been able to put on show, but the second half was a very different story and it really felt and looked like Aston Villa and Unai Emery had figured our system and play style out and pounced upon us.

One thing that really stood out to me when the team sheet was released was that Kai Havertz, who has no doubt been one of our best players in 2024, was put back into the midfield instead of up front as the number 9. I understand that Gabriel Jesus is back to good fitness and considering his experience and quality, it somewhat made sense that he would go back to his natural position up top, but after having a few good games on the wing, while Havertz kept his position in the middle, I didn’t quite understand why Arteta had made the sudden change to something that was clearly working.

Havertz has been unreal since the New Year and really looked to have found his feet. He did play a lot of games for us in the midfield before Jesus was injured and did play well, but it’s undeniable that he has looked better and much more fluid up top. Scoring goals and creating assists, Havertz has looked back at his best, something we hadn’t seen in a long time, and I always chalked that down to whatever was happening at Chelsea and him finding his feet in North London.

So, did Arteta moving him back to midfield against Villa cause us some troubles? Personally, I think so. For someone who has been in such great form to then be moved back into a position he isn’t as comfortable in, especially against a team like Aston Villa, who have had some great moments this season, makes no sense to me. I do think it was to accommodate Jesus, but I don’t think it was the right move.

Why fix what isn’t broken and has been clearly working well for the last few months? Jesus was playing very well out on the wing as well and with Saka, Havertz and Jesus starting up top, I think we would have scored early and maybe not lost the game.

What’s your thoughts Gooners?

Daisy Mae


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Tags Arsenal v Aston Villa Havertz Jesus


  1. Didn’t read the article but fully agree with the title. One was signed as a striker but is more suited as a winger, the other was signed as a midfielder but do better as a false 9. Kind of reminds me of BW who was signed as a CB but is more reliable as a RB

  2. Daisy, You are spot on. The old adage is if it is not broken why fix it? It is not fair to make a team lose a game so as to accommodate an individual. If Jesus had to play at all, he should have been put on the left wing and Havertz left in the centre. Another change that proved costly was Zinchenko on left back. Everyone knows Zinchenko is the weak link in the team. Perhaps Zinchenko should have been in midfield. Of course we can’t recover the lost points but let it serve as a lesson for future games.

    1. Exactly and well said.
      Plenty of evidence to see that
      1. Jesus is clearly not a striker; anemic at best with scoring goals, and all over the pitch position wise, leaving the wingers isolated. Drops too deep into midfield, and too involved in build up to be any threat scoring.

      2. Havertz really started to blossom as a striker, scoring goals and assisting. Why would you move him to midfield to accommodate a striker that doesn’t score?

      3. We played better with Zinchenko on the bench; more fluid, more dangerous, more dominating, and more solid defensively.

      Zinchenko didn’t have the chemistry with the defenders and you could see that in how Gabriel played at CB. Zinchenko was out of position too often, terrible defensively,, and just added pressure on our defenders.

      Bad lineup selection, made a hard match even harder against Villa with those terrible selections.

      Hopefully Jesus comes off the bench for the rest of the year, Havertz only plays as a striker or not at all (Jorghino & Partey both superior midfielders), and we don’t see Zinchenko anymore this year.

      Honest question is: Have we moved past Jesus and Zinchenko in the same way as City? Can they really both improve us, or pose a problem instead?

      1. Durand I reckon more GOONERS THAN NOT WOULD BE PERFECTLY CONTENT IF BOTH of them left this summer.

        Neither are effectivein anyregular amounts.

        JESUS IS ALMOST ALWAYS INJURED and Zinny too. Neither has really lived to what many us hoped they would prove to when they first arrived.

        Overall, though both have SOME talent , neither are good enough for a team that is improving year on tyear. I see no way at all that either will be here after, at most, ONE more season.
        Hopefully, IMO, BOTH will leave this summer. There are many more regularly effective players out there who will gladly come, if given the chance.

        1. Jon
          I agree completely with you and hope that is the case this Summer. The issue is plain as day to me.

          Zinchenko can’t defend, has not improved in that area, and is a constant target for opposition. He always has a mistake in him, and I think his inclusion is more costly to the team’s defense than any trickle of offensive input he brings.

          Jesus plays like a headless chicken; all over the pitch, rarely up top which leaves the wingers isolated, and lacks any end product worth mentioning.

          Both have taken us as far as they can, and at this point I would argue have become a weakness for our ascending team.

          One can’t score even if it’s put on a plate, and the other can’t defend for his life. I don’t see how they can improve or improve our squad, so we should sell before they lose any further value.

          1. No doubt these are all clear to you and you have people backing these perspectives especially on sites such as these where there is a rush to judgement.
            However, any reasonable and sober analysis would indicate that you are presenting a limited assessment and judgement of our LBs which is fundamentally unsound.
            There was a reason Zinchenko was bought last season and the rationale for his transfer has not suddenly become redundant.

            1. No not “suddenly” at all.

              But steadily and obviously over time , is how I would describe his non effectiveness.

              There is now, whatever your own opinion, a general antipathy among Gooners towards both Zinny and Jesus and I RESOLUTELY back my opinion that neither will stay longer, at very most, more than one more full season after this.

              It is clear to me that as our squad is being steadily – not suddenly but steadily – being upgraded year on year, that both have fallen away from original expectations rather markedly and that both will leave by very latest in summer of 2025. Hopefullly, THIS summer ,IMO!

            2. David, however and for whatever reason, we bought Zinchenko for LB. He was found out defensively last season and has gone backwards this.

              1. Zinchenko was bought because he was able to play LB in the way Arteta wanted. Despite his defensive limitations he is still very good in the right set up as an inverting LB.
                He has clearly not been as influential as last season. However, there are certain considerations that should be noted. He has been in and out of the team this season in part due to injury and fitness. It is also worth noting that on certain metrics his figures are comparable to or even better than the other two who have played LB.

            3. David
              I would disagree with your assessment of my comment.

              There is no “limited” assessment that you refer too, as any sober analysis clearly displays, and very clearly soundly clarifies.

              Last year when we were pressured by City, Liverpool scored 2 goals to tie the game, and who’s side was that on?
              Zinchenko out of position and Salah had his run-in. The 2nd goal was when failed to close down TAA and he got an assist.
              Zinchenko got replaced for the brief time remaining and Tierney did the job defensively.

              Zinchenko in the Southampton game, remember him out of position, remember him not even being close when Walcott scored?

              This happens time and time again, a weakness in defense, always get attacked on Zinchenko’s side, by design not coincidence.

              Nothing limited when seeing this happen for a couple years now.

              1. Exactly and plainly true Durand. MA will be ruthles as he has shown us time and again.

                And he will ditch both IMO and before much longer too. I am certain of it!

                He is no fool and he sees the obviousdefensive weakness in Zinny and that Jesus could not score in a brothel.

                We will neve convince EVERY Gooner but the trend amongour fanbase is turning steadily against both.

                All you need is to read enough posts, to see that!

              2. Of course it is a limited assessment. You have ignored all the other games Zinchenko played and his impact on those games and cherry picked certain games in order to make a generalisation and create a narrative.
                I am aware of Zinchenko’s strengths and weaknesses. The manager has to balance these when deciding the setup of the team.
                Last week when Zinchenko came on he provided a better balance to the team than Kiwior who has generally been praised for his defensive solidity.
                Tierney is regularly considered a better defender than Zinchenko. Yet Salah has roasted Tierney before during the period we were regularly battered by LIverpool. Tierney was partially at fault for MC’s goal in the CC. He sometimes looked out of place at times when deputising for Zinchenko last season which affected the team’s balance and momentum.

          2. Some teams would wish to swap places with Arsenal right now.
            Then, we need to move on, Gyokeres upfront, Luis in midfield a defender of note. The team sure needs a lot of experience surely.

  3. Well put Daisy.
    Of interest to me is wether Patey is injured again.I expected him to be integrated slowly back in the team.By now he should have been able to be starting alongside Rice,and Ode in midfield with Jorginho, Esr,and Zinchenko as ready substitutes.
    Upfront Jesus,Kai and Saka start,with Martinelli, Nelson and Trossard onthe bench. Then Tomiyasu as L.b now that we have a team with no proper fullbacks. Anyway Arteta knows best.

  4. —-Martinelli —– Havertz———Saka———

    Super Subs://Trossard,,,Jesus,,,,Timber?,,,,,Kiwior,,,,,Viera

    Bench warmers waiting to hit form://Partey,,,ESR,,,,,Ramsdale,,,,
    Nwaneri,,,,,,,Zinchenko,,,,,,, Nketiah,,,,,,Nelson,,,,,Other Academy Players.

  5. Currently Arteta has the full Squad. All players are available, though some lacking match fitness. We have a maximum of 9 games to go. He should avoid experiments and use the best players for each position while rotating depending on the opposition.

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