What did Arteta do to unlock Kai Havertz?

Last summer, Arsenal surprised many people when they decided to spend 65 million pounds to sign Kai Havertz from Chelsea. Previously, the German player moved to Stamford Bridge from Bayer Leverkusen in 2020 but left behind a lot of disappointment, especially with his finishing ability. 

The star born in 1999 has never made Chelsea fans see a striker who used to thrive in the Bundesliga. But there is a reason for this because Havertz was pushed into a position that is not his forte, which is the striker. 

Mikel Arteta sees this, at the same time as the German player’s strengths. Therefore, he did not hesitate to spend heavily on this 24-year-old player. With Granit Xhaka leaving the Emirates, the young strategist’s goal at that time was for Havertz to fill the left midfielder position left behind by the Swiss star. 

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What did Arteta do to unlock Kai Havertz?  - Football

 Havertz has proven that he is worthy of Arsenal’s expectations. 

In his final season at Chelsea, Havertz made more tackles (34) than shots on target (33). And his initial performance at Emirates Stadium was also mixed. Many experts have questioned the reasonableness of this expensive Arsenal contract.

By the first half of this season, 6 of Havertz’s 19 appearances were from the bench. In those matches, respectively, Jorginho, Leandro Trossard or Fabio Vieira were used as left midfielders in the 4-3-3 formation that coach Mikel Arteta favored.

Entering the new year 2024, the Spanish strategist made an adjustment that is considered an unlock for Havertz, which is allowing the German player to step up and play as a striker . In doing so, Arteta perhaps admitted that using him as a central midfielder was a mistake. 

Indeed, Havertz has started Arsenal’s last two matches, where they won 4-1 against Newcastle and 6-0 against Sheffield United . The German international seems to be receiving great trust from his teacher, even though he is competing with Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Jesus. 

Havertz has scored three goals and provided two assists in the last three matches. Although perhaps not signed as a striker, the way Arsenal are using him suggests they would consider him as an option for a striker role in the long term rather than as a midfielder.

What did Arteta do to unlock Kai Havertz?  - Football

 Mikel Arteta has made a huge contribution to helping Havertz explode like he is now. 

Contrary to Chelsea, the Gunners are the team that has gained the third most possession of the ball in the final third of the field (177) in the Premier League this season. Therefore, Arteta needs his strikers to have the ability to quickly create opportunities after stealing the ball from their opponents. This is a quality that really stands out in Havertz’s play.

Although Hai Havertz is not the striker who has scored the most goals for the Emirates Stadium team so far this season, with 7 goals, he still ranks second among all Arsenal players. Additionally, only William Saliba (0.26) has better expected goals (xG) per shot than Havertz (0.21). 

Arsenal may still be considering a move for another striker in the summer, who could provide a more consistent threat to the opposition goal. But even if that happens, Havertz’s playing style is still essential in the Gunners’ front line. 

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