Thierry Henry, an Arsenal icon, has told Mikel Arteta to quit benching his £280k-per-week star man, who is better than Fabio Vierra and has the potential to play in other positions. Player Not Trossard, Smith Rowe, or G.Jesus.
Arsenal won 4-0 in their Champions League return, but Mikel Arteta will soon switch his attention to the north London derby on Sunday.
Arsenal kicked up their Champions League campaign with a 4-0 home win over PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.
It had been seven years since the north Londoners had last competed in the tournament, and Mikel Arteta’s new breed of players delivered a performance that seemed as if they’d never left.
While it was a memorable night for Arsenal, all focus must now shift to Sunday, when the Gunners welcome their biggest rivals Tottenham Hotspur to Islington for a much-anticipated north London derby.
Ange Postecoglou’s team is level on points with Arteta’s squad in the Premier League league and has been in excellent form since the start of the season, making Sunday’s game one to watch.
Unlike prior meetings, the Reds will have to be at their best to overcome Spurs this time, and with the stakes so high, Arteta may want to make some changes to the team he fielded against Everton last time out in the league. One point of contention ahead of the game is Kai Havertz.
How did Kai Havertz play against PSV?
Summer signing Havertz was benched for the first time this season in Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Goodison Park, making way for Fabio Vieira.
The £280k-per-week German was reintroduced into the lineup last night against PSV, and rounded off his comeback with a “superb” performance, as journalist Steve Kay applauded after the final whistle.
The Champions League winner thrived in midfield, registering a great 93% passing accuracy rate, as well as one vital pass and one huge opportunity created in the 90 minutes he played, according to Sofascore. What was also notable was that no player won more duels (9) than Arteta, and we all know how much Arteta enjoys duel wins.
After the game, his boss complimented the 24-year-old as “intelligent” in what was an outstanding display by the versatile ace, who started in midfield and then played as a lone striker in the dying moments.
Should Kai Havertz start against Spurs?
In a game as competitive and full of talent as a north London derby, Arteta may choose to keep Havertz in the starting lineup instead of Vieira.
The Portuguese playmaker earned his starting spot against Everton after registering two assists in his first two games for the Gunners this season.
Havertz played his greatest game to date. When you compare Fabio Vieira this season to last, I don’t see why so many Arsenal fans are frustrated with Havertz. Nobody benefits from it.
— Paddy (@PaddyArsenal) September 20, 2023
While his distribution and vision are finally coming to light after making the move to north London from Porto in 2022, the 23-year-old lacks the physicality to contend in the midfield against a duo as sturdy as Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr.
The midfielder was previously criticised for his stature by journalist Connor Humm, who dubbed Vieira as being “too weak” in possession, an area of his game that won’t suffice in a match-up as colossal as the battle of north London.
For such reasons, it would be a wise move for Arteta to restore Havertz’s place in the Premier League squad against Spurs, who will certainly bring a challenge to the Gunners’ midfield as judged by their start to the season.
The 6 foot 4 German brings a physical and creative presence to Arsenal, in a way that can’t be replicated by Vieira, despite his recent streak of form in the final third.