Kai Havertz delivered another subpar performance against Crystal Palace. It was as if the mid-season break sucked the rhythm out of him, given that he appeared to have found his feet in Arsenal colors before the trip to Dubai.
Havertz completed 25 of his 27 passes. However, he did not make any key passes, create any chances, or hit any shots. He lost four out of nine duels and lost possession seven times.
Yet, even with Havertz’s struggles, Arsenal had a fantastic game; before halftime, they were two goals up, and by the time he was substituted, the Gunners were three up, but Emile Smith Rowe came on to replace him and had a noticeable impact in the game. The Hale End graduate (after being introduced in the 69th minute) picked up good positions inside the channels and drove at Palace’s defense, getting into dangerous positions in the box.
Yes, Smith-Rowe, like Havertz, did not create any chances, but he played a role in Gabriel Martinelli’s two goals in the dying moments of the game.
Arsenal continues to reject offers for his services from other clubs; a transfer request from West Ham was reportedly rejected, but Arteta is benching him in favor of Kai Havertz.
🚨🔴⚪️ Arsenal have rejected West Ham initial approach for Emile Smith-Rowe to join on loan.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 20, 2024
If I had advice for Arteta for his game plan for Arsenal’s next match, which is against Nottingham Forest, I would tell him to start Emile Smith Rowe and bring on Kai Havertz in the second half until Emile becomes fully match fit.
Who agrees with me?