Football Features

Arsenal stats: How Kai Havertz has nailed down striker role at high-flying Gunners

By Will Evans | Twenty3

Published: 13:01, 11 April 2024

Kai Havertz is proving his doubters wrong at Arsenal.

Plenty of eyebrows were raised when the Gunners spent £65 million to sign the 24-year-old from Chelsea last summer — and his early performances were met with a degree of scepticism.

But Havertz has slowly become a key cog in Mikel Arteta’s high-flying outfit, hitting his stride with an impressive nine goal contributions in his last 10 matches.

Here we reflect on the versatile German’s maiden season at the Emirates Stadium and consider where he fits best in Arsenal’s system.

Jack of all trades

Havertz’s ability to operate in multiple areas is both a blessing and a curse.

It has seen him rack up over 3,000 minutes across all competitions this term, but has perhaps hindered his efforts to nail down a specific position in Arsenal’s starting XI.

We can see how the Aachen native has been utilised from his positions and minutes played map below, with his time primarily split between a left-sided central role and at centre-forward.

Notably, however, he has played the majority of his football – 671 of 946 minutes – as a striker in the Gunners’ previous 10 games, during which time he has significantly improved his end product.

Havertz’ finishing ability

It stands to reason that Havertz is more likely to score and assist when featuring in a more advanced position, but the upturn in his output is nonetheless significant.

Nine of his 15 goal contributions have come since Arsenal’s thumping 5-0 victory over Burnley in mid-February, while his shooting accuracy has skyrocketed from 24.49% to 56.25%.

That has seen the 44-cap international reach double figures for the season in all competitions, including five goals in his last 10 outings.

Hitting that milestone will be pleasing for the Gunners’ No.29, who has been dogged by criticism of his finishing ability throughout his time in England.

No change needed

With Havertz in fine form and Arsenal topping the Premier League table, there appears to be no reason why Arteta would tinker with a successful system.

The 6ft4in attacker boosts the whole team’s performances when featuring as a centre-forward and has created an eye-catching 0.41 chances per 90 minutes since the aforementioned Burnley fixture, across both Champions League and top-flight games.

That is close to double the number of big opportunities he was conjuring in matches prior to that date (0.21 per 90), which reflects his all-round impact in recent weeks.

With Havertz up front, Arsenal will be confident of a successful end to this season’s scintillating Premier League title race.