2. He’s performed better offensively than you think
Going forward, he has been better than people think and his criticism has mostly been for one of two reasons: looking clunky and missing chances/not scoring goals.
Indeed, Havertz has not yet looked very fluid on the ball, but he has actually been quite good. Although he lost possession which led to a goal against United, Bukayo Saka did the same in the opening minute against Fulham. It happens. He has been good in the build-up and helped out the team – even if that isn’t his forté.
Interestingly, he has also lost possession less than both of his midfield teammates: 6.3 possessions lost per 90 compared to 7.5 for Declan Rice and 11.8 for Martin Odegaard. Of course, he has had possession less than both of those players, but some criticisms of him seem unfair.
The other criticism is missing chances, like that miscue against United and a run he didn’t finish against Fulham. While scoring those goals would obviously have been better, the important sign is that Havertz is getting into positions where he has those chances. Eventually, the confidence in front of goal will come and those chances will be put away, but getting them in the first place is the most important thing.
As you can see from the table above, he has also created five chances – more than any other Arsenal player except Saka.
Indeed, he hasn’t been exceptional yet, but he’s hardly been a disaster. I think there is a strong case of confirmation bias going on: people expect him to lose the ball, then only notice when he does lose the ball and their perception of him playing poorly is confirmed, when in fact, any midfielder can and will lose the ball.
Continued on the next slide…