Gabby Agbonlahor has given his verdict on Kai Havertz’s recent Arsenal performance.
Havertz was named in the starting XI by Mikel Arteta, as the Gunners welcomed Nottingham Forest to the Emirates Stadium. The German was deployed alongside club captain Martin Odegaard in an advanced midfield role, and played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal secured a 2-1 win.
Despite Arsenal’s result, Gabby Agbonlahor was less than complimentary about Havertz’s contribution. Speaking on TalkSport, the pundit and former Aston Villa forward said, “Havertz… I’m not having him…What does he do?…He doesn’t suit being in that number eight position with Odegaard, I just think they can do better. I’d rather Trossard play in that position.”
Leandro Trossard has certainly impressed when given a chance by Arteta in recent weeks, and made a positive impact when he came on against Nottingham Forest. He is very capable of operating in the role Havertz played, too.
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However, Havertz didn’t perform poorly against Steve Cooper’s side. The 24-year-old was tidy in possession, held up the ball effectively, and pressed well. He added impetus to the Gunners’ attacking play, as well.
As per WhoScored stats, he produced 2 key passes, managed 2 shots, and won 3 aerial duels. That last stat, in particular, highlights the new dimension Havertz brings to Arteta’s side. The 6’4” Germany international can attack crosses and allows Arsenal to unlock defences in various ways.
At Chelsea, Havertz regularly played as a striker. He is getting used to a new role at the Emirates Stadium, and will need time to adjust and become accustomed to the demands being made of him by Arteta.
He showed enough against Nottingham Forest, despite Agbonlahor’s criticism, to encourage Arsenal fans that he can flourish in north London. Once he is fully settled, Havertz will be a big player for Arsenal this season. He can provide goals and assists, cover multiple positions, and is a more natural attacker than Granit Xhaka was in that ‘left-eight’ role last season.