Kai Havertz has been criticised for his performance for Arsenal against Fulham.
Arsenal were frustrated by Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Despite being down to ten men, the visitors were able to score late to secure a 2-2 draw against the Gunners.
Both of Arsenal’s goals came after Kai Havertz was taken off by Mikel Arteta in the 56th minute. The German’s replacement, Fabio Vieira, had a huge impact on the match, winning the penalty for Bukayo Saka to score and assisting Eddie Nketiah to turn the game on its head.
Havertz had endured a difficult game. He worked hard and made some decent runs, but there was a lack of conviction and confidence in his play. There was one moment early in the second half when he gave the ball away needlessly, when he wasn’t under any pressure. Arteta took him off soon afterwards.
Former Chelsea midfielder and ESPN pundit, Craig Burley, was highly critical of Havertz after his display against the Cottagers. He said of the 24-year-old, “in the second-half where the crowd got on his back, somebody played a beautiful little ball into him, sixty yards from goal, he had 10 yards to turn because no defender had got tight to him and he passed it back 15 yards and gave it away…he’s still got no confidence, he’s still not influencing games, he’s still giving the ball away, he’s still not getting in the right positions at the right time…there’s a £70 million burning problem in Arteta’s pocket, because, in my opinion, he’s going to have to drop him. Arsenal are a better side without him in the team.”
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Arteta defended Havertz after the match, saying, “I think he’s done already really good things.” However, Burley dismissed this argument from Arteta as “nonsense.”
Burley is being harsh on Havertz. The player is still adapting to a new role at Arsenal, and he showed flashes of quality against Crystal Palace last time out. What’s more, but for the close attention of a Fulham centre-back, he might have scored in the first half against Fulham after Saka played a ball across the six-yard box.
Having paid £65 million to sign Havertz from Chelsea this summer, Arsenal need the player to come good. Arteta will still have faith that the £280,000-a-week man can shine for the Gunners. However, Vieira is now putting pressure on Havertz for his place in the starting line-up, which might provoke an improvement from the 37-cap Germany international.