Premier League - Kai Havertz - Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has praised Kai Havertz for his resilience this season after an impressive run of form for the Arsenal midfielder.

Havertz was criticised during the opening weeks of the campaign after a slow start to his Arsenal career, with some questioning the decision to sign the German from London rivals Chelsea in a £65m deal.

The 24-year-old has since shone during Arsenal’s strong form in recent weeks, impressing as a false nine in the absence of Gabriel Jesus.

The Gunners have won seven consecutive Premier League games since the turn of the new year as their new-look forward line has clicked, scoring 31 goals during that run.

Havertz has now scored in three consecutive Premier League games, adding a further two assists, and Arteta has been delighted with how the summer signing has responded to the scrutiny surrounding his performances.

“It says about his character as well and how he has dealt with all those question marks and the attitude that he shows all the time,” Arteta said at his pre-match press conference ahead of facing Brentford this weekend.

“Even when things were not so good in certain phases of the game he continued to work hard. That’s why he’s loved by everybody here. Then we can see his quality, we can see his intelligence on the pitch, and the contribution he’s having. Obviously very happy with him.

“His ability to occupy spaces but also in transition moments to exploit them, the aggression he has in high presses is really good. He has the physical qualities as well to play very different types of games and attributes we thought would be very good for us.”

Havertz’s form has seen Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson struggle for minutes in recent weeks and Arteta discussed his challenge to keep his squad content.

“We discuss these things. We cannot play every player every game. Those players played a few days ago against Newcastle and had opportunities. Now we have five subs, before we only had three, so we have another two players happy.

“That’s the way I take it. You’re always going to have players who want to be involved and play, but unfortunately it is impossible. It’s not in our hands. It’s impossible to achieve that and they know that.

“You [don’t] know what’s going to happen in a week’s time. We have to show compassion and they need to feel we are next to them and we understand where they are. The reality is as well that this is football, this is a team sport and you have to understand and fulfil the role you have in the moment and it might be very different in three weeks time.”

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