The Havertz problem – Arteta needs to reflect on Arsenal’s performances so far

Let’s talk about Kai Havertz by Konstantin Mitov

Isn’t it poetic to write a piece on a German player while waiting in Germany for a connecting flight? Well here it is, the elephant in the room – Kai Havertz. Why does he start, what does Arteta see in him, did we disrupt the whole system just to bring him in?

Unfortunately all the facts point to the obvious answer on everyone’s lips, that he shouldn’t be in the side. 3 poor years at Chelsea, and 4 poor performances after a second big money move in England don’t bode well.

His performance against United was shocking really. Missed a sitter, his mistake led to their goal and he dived for a penalty which he didn’t get. And I was really rooting for him, you see the guy lacks confidence and maybe one moment of good play, especially against United, could’ve been liftoff.

That didn’t happen though, but there’s a more worrying thing. His body language is awful. I see him strolling around, when others are busting a gut to cover back, kind of reminding me of Ozil, without the forward output, and Mesut was labelled a luxury player.

There were parts of the game where I felt we were playing with 10 man. Then you see players like Vieira impacting multiple games off the bench, and you wonder when will they get the chance they deserve based on their performances?

And there is Smith-Rowe one of our top goalscorers from two seasons back, who can’t get a minute. I’m concerned with player favouritism, because it’s a real thing. “Train hard” sounds all fine and dandy, until someone else gets picked, because the manager spent 65 millions on him, and he has to justify why he did it, or he simply likes him more.

It’s how we people work, we surround ourselves with people we like and they influence the decisions we make. If it was down to output there’s hardly a player who doesn’t beat Havertz, because his on-field performances have been not only terrible but lacking desire.

You see when Jesus came on, we suddenly had a player who fights for the first ball, uses his body to be a nuisance, and long balls forward started making more sense. Even if he hadn’t scored a goal, his control, his presence, his ability to take a defender one on one, it raised our level.

A few people have raised the point of “playing him into form”, and trying to lift his confidence by backing him and starting him every time, but the manager is playing a very dangerous game. We’re under huge pressure to win football matches.

I like that Declan Rice understands it. I read an interview of his where he said how he thought going 5 points behind City was already too much. Under Pep they’ve failed to win the title in only his first year and when Liverpool just blitzed the league by winning all the games, until it didn’t matter anymore.

Sadly we could’ve done it last year too, but it wasn’t to be. That said, nobody has beaten City in a race, and our record against them is terrible, so we can’t afford passengers in games, those 2 dropped points against Fulham still hurt. City were average at best against them and pumped them 5:1.

I think it would also benefit Havertz to be taken out of the firing lines. We don’t need to rush him into the side. Grealish didn’t play every game when City bought him. He was trained, nurtured and eased in. And for the first time in forever we do have options, especially in midfield.

When you are under pressure and low on confidence, being put on the spot to deliver, can easily backfire and do more harm than good. We play Everton away next, a poor team, but one that somehow always causes us trouble at their ground. It’s easy to fall in the same trap as we did with Fulham and think we’re “too good” and we’ll beat them with Havertz in the team.

I think the international break is actually a welcome sight for once, as Arteta can reflect on the opening 4 games and work out a way to start putting more convincing performances. I just hope he puts the team’s interest first. We must win games like this no matter what.


Tags Kai Havertz


  1. As much as I criticize him he didn’t dive for that overruled penalty. He tripped after touching the defender’s leg. It shows in the last replay of VAR.

    ESR has the potential of becoming world class if given enough game time and proper coaching. He is a true Arsenal blood was he to become world class and the star of the team all the spotlight will be on him. Perhaps that is his fault.

    1. Totally agree HH! ESR has definitely got that special factor you only see in certain players, he could mature into an incredibly special player, and is already an excellent one.
      Havertz best position would be the one Odegaard plays in. Surely the best case for all would be to let Vieira and Smith-Rowe battle for the Xhaka role, and bring Havertz on to replace Odegaard late on in games? That way we play him to his strengths and massively reduce the pressure of expectation on him. It’s his best chance of finding his feet whilst creating the least amount of negative impact on the team and results. And it’d be great to see ESR start in that midfield, the link up play and darting runs would be mesmerising!

    2. HH, definite penalty in every sense of the laws of the game. If ithad of been a Manchester United player it would have been given!

  2. Is Leo Trossard injured? If not why is he not playing. Trossard effects games more than Havertz and more than Viera. Arteta’s obstinacy at sticking with rubbish players (e.g Willian), is in direct contrast to his blacklisting players such as Aubamayang, Ozil, Pepe, Guendouzi…etc. Arteta’s fault is not in his coaching, which is excellent, but in his love/hate relationships with players, which is pretty contaminated.

    1. Sean
      Leo Trossard played against Fulham and didn’t influence the game
      As for the examea you listed I think I your heart you know
      Pepe never made it for us but had countless opportunities
      Aubes turned out to be selfish
      and a mercenary
      Guendouzi at the Time was stubborn and a child
      Ozil is the biggest regret as he had all the ability bit lacked the aptitude
      And commitment for us in the end and has since retired
      Not heard many if any come out and say MA is a a heartless manager. Maybe he is and maybe at the time of his managerial career
      He probably agree that he could have handled situations differently like all of us
      KH should be dropped but he is far from being rubbish 🗑
      Lastly Willian in my opinion is a decent player but again never done it for us
      We do have better players now and players who do give us belief in we can achieve something special
      The past players ony gave us hope in glimpses and for a brief moments
      I would take our current crop over the past mentioned all day long

      1. out of 4 game Leo got chance in half a game only.
        Pepe performed way better when given opportunity (it just that we bought him expensive ) check his stats.
        Willian never performed for Arsenal but Arteta payed him whole season and blocked the progress of academy players.
        On current for any Hale end academy U-23 player will play better than Havertz.

          1. Arsenal need to stop buying a player whom even the CFC sees him as no value to them, we are not CFC dustbins. This is a repeatable mistakes since AW eg, Peter cech, William, David L.

        1. 👍 Pépé said it in an interview,how it affected him seeing Wilian given chances after chances. while himself would/could not get a look in.

  3. Many people also didn’t understand what Wenger, Emery, Ljungberg, Arteta, Petkovic and Favre saw in Xhaka, including me who thought Xhaka was nothing special in deep-midfield area

    It all changed after Arteta moved Xhaka up to the left-AM position, which seemed to be a crazy decision since Xhaka had been playing DM in double-pivot formations for many years

    I guess the same people who didn’t really understand Xhaka’s abilities and modern football stuff are having similar problems with Havertz. I just hope Arteta won’t misuse Havertz as he did to Willian

    1. Gai, am hopeful of Havertz improving and giving us something to cheer about after Int break. However, Xhaka’s situation was slightly different. Xhaka’s performance wasn’t the issue as much as him infuriating the fans in a particular season with his gestures and stripped of captaincy. And collecting costly cards. Havertz was coming from a background of bad season with Chelsea, espensive and now given a midfield role he started his career with in Laverkusen. And yet not leaving up to expectations. I hope he rediscovers himself after international break. I remain positive on the guy.

      1. The fans Xhaka dissed and sweared to deserve each and every bit of it. And with time they came to know Xhaka is a general and shouldn’t be shoved like a boy. He showed commitment and took risks which nobody was willing to take at the time. Also He was not a lazy player.he is always where the action is.(thats why all managers liked him and played him regardless of fans outbursts and boos) His change in position to attacking left also made him progress our attacks and he became a pivotal player for us till the end. Now we’re missing something when he’s gone but we will be better with time.

      2. Based on his old YouTube highlights about his games for Leverkusen, I think he played second-striker or CAM role for them

    2. Xhaka ALAWYS played and thrived as a AM for the Swiss NT. I still remember the 2016 Euros and how most of us on JA and Twitter kept wondering why Xhaka couldn’t play the same role for Arsenal.

      1. I watched him play for Switzerland in the last two World Cups and the last Euro. He always operated in deep-midfield area with another DM

  4. The writers views on Havertz could hardly be described as “balanced”, but no less than I expect from this particular scribe.To say he dived is a distortion of the truth and while he gave away possession the efforts of White and Saliba who failed to engage Rashford and the fact that Ramsdale ought to have done better are overlooked.Havertz is not a player I would have bought for a number of reasons, but the way he is being vilified on JA is a disgrace.

    1. Love and hate play a great role than proffesionalism and enthusiasm
      Let’s wait and see + even player themselves doesn’t anderstand why ESR is not playing.
      Jah will one day relieve us from devil’s hand

    2. Did someone trap your balls in a vice and pour hot coffee down your crack, record it and make it go viral? I’m just trying to rationalise why you feel it’s necessary to get so needlessly personal on a site that is based around football opinions. If Konstantin is young and rash then I think it’s fair to say you’re most likely old, lonely, highly irritable, avoided by most and nowhere near as intellectual as you think you are. Only a buffoon would waste so much energy on such negativity when it benefits nobody. Honestly, if you don’t like someone just avoid them instead of being toxic, your posts are so often embarrassing 🤦🏽‍♂️

  5. It was a pen as proved by different angles and please, it’s 4 games and ok he fluffed a very good chance, but so did Saka. Let’s give the bloke a break eh? I agree his performances have not been up to the other new boy Declan’s but the abuse he’s got is unwarranted!

  6. Not even a mention of his hold up,defensive and shot blocking attributes he offers all just to publish your regular rants, i cease engaging with fans like you who are obviously not tactical oriented.

  7. Havertz should come off the bench when the game is not close to put added pressure on him to produce. The Grealish example is on pint. However, we are loaded in the attacking left flank with Martinelli and Trossard, and hopefully ESR soon, which makes you wonder why Arteta thought that Havertz could be a direct replacement for Xhaka!
    Just like Ozil, the defensive liability of Havertz has been masked when they play for the German national team due to their strong DM pivot players.
    Arsenal can’t use this double defensive pivot strategy with Odegaard and Havertz both on the team leaving them exposed defensively.

  8. Kai Havertz, the player or person, isn’t the root of the problem. Fans are just annoyed at seeing the same mistakes by the club…over and over again.

    It happened before with Ozil, Aubameyang, Pepe, Willian and now Havertz is heading down the same path. Will we ever learn to be smart with our transfer kitty?

    If someone at the club had just taken the time to look carefully at player’s record at Chelsea (in our backyard) we could have avoided throwing good money (140M) down the drain. Again!

    Never gonna win the league with poor decisions in the transfer window. That’s it in a nutshell.

  9. Let us wait for our next away Everton game. And at home against Spurs after the break. And us will see what kind of game Havertz will play in the 2 games for Arsenal. Whether he will positively contribute in the 2 matches to impact wins for Arsenal in the 2 matches. If he does, he’ll put his anti-him in his early Arsenal to rest. And at that point he should start to be on high confidence and start performing high well regularly for Arsenal as expected of him.
    Nevertheless, I am tempted to say as I have said several times in the last 3 transfer windows. Summer and winter windows. When I repeatedly opinnionated that Arsenal should sign the goals scoring midfielder James Maddison. But who Tottenham Hs have swooped on him under our noses as if us are not Arsenal anymore who recognise top quality player of Maddison pedigree and swoop on him.
    But hopefully, Havertz will start doing very well in his games playing for Arsenal after the break. Which if he does will negate my lamenting on the Arsenal failure to not sign Maddison when they ought to. But it looks us have our own kind of James Maddison in ESR in our backyard. But us have not played him this season. Maybe Arteta will play him at the Goodison Park away to Everton. We’ll see.

  10. Let us wait for our next away Everton game. And at home against Spurs after the break. And us will see what kind of game Havertz will play in the 2 games for Arsenal. Whether he will positively contribute in the 2 matches to impact wins for Arsenal in the 2 matches. If he does, he’ll put his anti-him in his early Arsenal career to rest. And at that point he should start to be on high confidence and start performing highly well regularly for Arsenal as expected of him.
    Nevertheless, I am tempted to say as I have said several times in the last 3 transfer windows. Summer and winter windows. When I repeatedly opinnionated that Arsenal should sign the goals scoring midfielder James Maddison. But who Tottenham Hs have swooped on him under our noses as if us are not Arsenal anymore who recognise top quality player of Maddison pedigree and swoop on him.
    But hopefully, Havertz will start doing very well in his games playing for Arsenal after the break. Which if he does will negate my lamenting on the Arsenal failure to not sign Maddison when they ought to. But it looks us have our own kind of James Maddison in ESR in our backyard. But us have not played him this season. Maybe Arteta will play him at the Goodison Park away to Everton. We’ll see.

  11. Konstantinov made a valid point about harvetz body language. He hardly puts up a fight. No desire to harass the opposition. So languid and irritatingly slow . I just don’t see what he brings to the team. Jorginho can play the xhaka role far better than hervartz. Hervartz is a liability and he will be exposed at goodison park against an Everton side that plays dirty. Hervartz is not a grafter neither is he an imposing figure. Onana or doucoure or gana will take him out effortlessly. That’s going to be a man short.. whose fault is that?.. the manager

    1. What has body language to do with ANY players ability.
      So you want players who run around like a bull in a China shop?

      Have you even considered that Havertz is learning on the job, just as Arteta did?
      MA substituted him, so where is the favouritism there then?
      He sees him in training every day and chooses him to start ahead of ESR and Viera for a reason.
      Jeez, this time last season, it was Viera who was the whipping boy – two great passes and a fair performance against manure and he becomes undroppable.

      The only thing I don’t understand is why ESR is being overlooked, but again, MA sees it all during the week.
      The answer is back the player and manager – after all, with (we are told) only ten and a half men, we are still unbeaten.

        1. Give the man a break.
          Quality player.
          We need a squad now back in champions league.
          Means we can take strong team to Brentford in caribou Cup.

    2. And what do you think the role entails as intended by the manager? Cos your bold comments on jorginho being better in that role makes me wonder what you are on about.

      1. If harvetz role is defined in tandem with xhaka’s , then he needs to be fierce in the tackle , defensively sound and ready to initiate attacks. In all honesty, has harvetz done any? And someone say he is learning on the job. Seriously? He should already be an elite player that understand his role as early as the third game. Jorginho will do a better job of it than harvetz is my argument here. Judging from the last few games, I won’t hold my breath at Everton.

  12. I knew we would eventually come to this.It may get worse if Arteta persists on fielding a player low on confidence in the starting 11.He may think he is helping Kai but he actually is doing him more harm than good.
    It’s evident by now that there are other players in better form and more at home with the Arsenal way of play than Kai and its only prudent that the manager starts treating him like any other player who should earn his place on merit. This special treatment is what is making fans turn against Kai and its solely the managers mistake to let it happen this way.

  13. This isn’t an issue with Havertz…at the moment, but an issue with the modern day fan.

    They want instant results, regardless of context. Perfect example is the reaction to MA.

    Arsenal had been in a downward spiral for well over a decade before his arrival, and there wasn’t a single area on and off the pitch that didn’t need fixing. Yet despite that, many fans expected CL football straight away, a league title, trophies galore!

    I think we need to abandon our approach, and copy Chelsea. Spend 300m then sack the manager a few months later, then do it again! I’m sure that’ll make some of our delusional fans very happy.

    1. I haven’t seen a single fan asking for Arteta sacking only for Havertz to earn a start. What’s your point exactly?

      This reminds me of that genius who figured Arteta is getting rid of injured players. Poor Partey and Timber.

      1. “I haven’t seen a single fan asking for Arteta sacking”, oh look who it is, and yet another lie!!!

        For the first 2/3 years of his tenure that’s all we heard!

        You do tell a lot of porkies!

        1. We are talking about now which world are you living miss genius? You had to go two to three years before is that the best you could come up with?

          And by your flawless injured players logicless are Partey and Timber Arsenal careers over?

          And speaking of Havertz you told us to give him few games and yet your streak of porkies is going on strong. And I don’t expect for it to be broken anytime soon.

          Here are your goalposts. Strong yet light feel free to move them however you see fit.

            1. Denying your own words? Think I overestimated you. So disappointing. Do I have to screenshot them for you?

              “Arteta face on TV. The only trophy I will ever need. Yours J”

              1. You must be under 10 years old the way you’re carrying on.

                Admin please can you put a block on this fake fan for me. He has to comment on almost anything I say, which I don’t mind usually, but in this case it’s just constant lies and taking anything and everything out of context. I might as well be talking to a brick wall or Joe Biden!

                1. Fake fans are those who have put club second before a person. Are you Arsenal or Arteta fan? Or maybe they sound the same to you?

                    1. Huh? Not sure what you are talking about.

                      I just used those news networks to point out his lying, as everyone knows that all they do is spread fake news.

                  1. Right let’s sort this out once and for all. You keep trying to expose me, and keep saying that you’re telling the truth, so PROVE IT THEN! This is your chance to completely expose me.

                    1 – You say that I put MA before the club. On what Article did I say this? Let’s see a direct quote.

                    2 – You say that for some players I said MA has replaced injury prone players, but he doesn’t for Partey, and that I’m happy with my contradiction. On what Article did I say this?
                    Let’s see a direct quote.

  14. Im not going to mention any names, so to keep this unbiased. BUT I think the number 29 for Arsenal is struggling and another player deserves a chance. THATS HOW IT SHOULD BE. Earn your place. He isn’t.

  15. In what way bro… Absolutely noway… Who in their right mind thinks Kai deserves to start ahead of Trossard, ESR or Viera

  16. My concern regarding Kai Havertz and Mikel Arteta’s preferential treatment of him over Trossard and ESR and playing Partey out of position, causing dissention and disharmony in the Arsenal squad. Players are ambitious to play and after putting in the hard yards in training and playing, it is only natural that they will be upset if they see (in their opinion), inferior players being selected in front of them. If they believe opportunities are unfairly denied them, they will move on.

    1. Where is the evidence of dissent and disharmony? The manager sees the players in practice and chooses the players and set-up for any given game.
      There are still plenty of games for all players to get opportunities. The players need to demonstrate to the manager why they should be in the team and perform when they are called upon.
      As for players moving on, that will happen in any case. Holding wouldn’t get in the current team regularly so moves on. KT wouldn’t get a regular spot so he’s gone on loan.
      Any player that has the kind of attitude you are suggesting (complaining of favouritism etc.) shouldn’t be in the squad anyway and the sooner they move on, the better.

      1. Exactly, all this about favouritism is invented by the people, who didn’t want Arteta in the first place, and now need new angles to attack him, as they can’t do it based on results.
        There is absolutely no evidence, but if it is repeated often enough, it will stick with some.

      2. David, I didn’t say there was evidence of dissention at the moment, but that human nature being what it is, a natural result would be disaffection of players who believed they were in better form than Havertz. Arsenal has previously been through this situation with Willian.

  17. One of the reasons why Martinelli tormented Wan Bussaka all game was because 6’4” Kai Havertz occupied Casemiro and Lindeloft on the left channel all by himself. The number of times he physically won against the behemoth Casemiro was shocking. Together with Zinchenko, who was occupied by Antony, both of them isolated the Man Utd RB. Kai Havertz plays like DM in LM position and his defensive stats are impressive. However, his attacking contributions are suffering because of that. And Arteta is throwing him into the deep end and making him suffer, which I fully agree he should. Kai needs some tough love and reality check to help him mature properly after those damaging silly years at Chelsea FC. Arteta bought him for his attributes, not for his unseen potential. Let him drown and rise back as a proper man. Because I can see him as the next great Arsenal midfielder.

    1. 👍🏼 he needs the fan’s support to bring his morale up again. He’ll be a devastating player once he gets his confidence back again. What a great player he was during his Leverkusen day. Hopefully he can just ignore all this negativities and prove em the doubters wrong.

  18. Nothing to worry about Havertz! This Havertz that I am seeing will definitely become an Arsenal Legend.
    Havertz will shine, reign, and rule in England and Europe… He is a great call for Arsenal and Arteta.
    Great days are back at Arsenal…. get ready England, get ready Europe!

    Of a truth, Havertz is not in the lineup to score goals!
    Judging Havertz based on goals is unfair! He is doing everything right except missing goal scoring chances.
    Nothing is wrong with Havertz, he is only short on confidence at the moment, that guy will win Arsenal fans over.
    May be he should play slightly deeper for people to see more and more and more of his great works in the middle of the park!

    Havertz best role is playing at Odegaard position.
    Odegaard and Havertz is a super great midfield duo with either Partey or Declan defending behind them.
    If Haverts must deliver in a double 8 position, then his fullback has to be an occupyer /container and not a controller/playmaker
    Haverts playing on the left of the 8’s means either a Tomiyasu, White, Partey, or Kiwior should be playing leftback not Timbre, nor Zinchenko.
    These are the little details Arteta has to fix in the lineup.

    Watch out for Arteta unlocking stuffs in the brains of Havertz, Partey, and Declan.
    He is turning them into SLALOM MIDFIELDERS: who can play anywhere thru the middle from CB to CF in the mould of Patrick Viera, Yaya Toure and Abou Diaby.

    Declan Rice and Arsenal FC are a match made in heaven. Oh Declan, Declan Rice!
    The price was almost discouraging, but Rice is worth a Jude Bellingham fee.
    First of all Arsenal, Edu, and Arteta deserves all the credit for buying him.
    He is a great need given Partey’s injury record.

    Against Man United, the substitutions were like for like, Arteta stuck to his philosophy.
    If Havertz had been instructed to drop deeper with Magalhaes to both shield the left of the defense,
    thereby allowing Zinchenko to control the game in more advance areas, Arsenal would still have won.
    But Arteta decided to change personels for fresh legs to bombard exhausted ManU players, it did paid off!
    Nelson for Martinelli.
    Jesus for Eddie.
    Vieira for Zinchenko.
    Tomiyasu for Havertz.

    England and Europe should get ready, because this Arsenal Squad will give a great fight henceforth, they will compete.
    Sweepers – Ramsdale, Raya, Hein
    Drivers – Saka, Martinelli, Jesus, Eddie, Nelson
    Occupyers – Saliba, White, Tomiyasu, Partey, Declan, Havertz, Kiwior, Magalhaes
    Controllers – Timbre, Odegaard, Zincheko, Vieira, Trossard, Emile, Jorginho, Elneny

    Gabriel Magalhaes is such a hell of a defender!
    Arteta is wanting to get more from him by challenging him to improve his ball trapping and passing. Arteta wants him to be a ball playing defender more, and more and more. He has to be that comfortable on the ball !

    Take your time Timbre. Wish you good recovery man!

    Mikel Arteta deserves all the backing.
    Arteta-ball is a masterful footballing gameplan.
    If you get him the right players for his tactics and team-shape, he will win a lot of matches for Arsenal.

    Prime Odegaard is a perfect embodiment of Arteta’s definition of a CONTROLLER, a PLAYMAKER.
    Great engine, Captain fanstatic!

    Great times ahead, COYG!!!!!!!!

  19. Arteta must be having 65 million reasons to start Havertz over other better players on the bench. The pressing ability of Havertz is better as compared to ESR/Viera/Trossard but that is hardly the justification for starting him over others. Point is, Arteta must gradually integrate him into the team to get him accustomed to the Arsenal style of play rather than putting him in the cauldron immediately. I guess he will get another 2-3 matches to show his worth else he will be on the bench, come on as a sub and if his impact is good, he should start further matches.

  20. Arteta is a great coach. No doubt. But he suffers from the ‘Willian’ complex where he tries to prove himself right when clearly to the eyes of all….wrong. We have the possibility of putting out and almost unbeatable team, but due to the Willian/Havertz psychological complex, Arteta is so fixated he tries to prove the impossible.

    “The Willian Complex” 😒😢😕😟

  21. I wonder if Michel Arteta reads some of the articles and posts on JA? If not I would seriously recommend that he does. It is without doubt the most entertaining football site in the country especially when it goes off topic!! No ‘tongue in cheek’ here Admin, my day would be incomplete without at least one visit.

    1. I would ask, and seriously ask Andrew, if unlike myself, you think MA has TIME, even had he the inclination , which I massivley DONT BELIEVE HE HAS, to read a site like this.

      I firmly believe HE thinks he has far better things to do with his time than come on here.

      And I too firmly believe he has a hundred and one other jobs to do each day, all of which are far more important . both to him, to our team,our club and too us all, than to waste his precious and valuable time on here.

    2. That part of my post was ‘tongue in cheek’ Jon the second part regarding the site being, in my opinion, entertaining was not.

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