Arsenal

Arsenal

Premier League • England

Ian Wright names Arsenal star who must be sacrificed so Arteta can unleash ‘brilliant’ Kai Havertz

Kai Havertz playing for Arsenal

Arsenal star Kai Havertz

Arsenal hero Ian Wright has suggested Mikel Arteta could drop Eddie Nketiah in order to make room for Kai Havertz in the starting eleven, following the summer signing’s big impact against Manchester City.

Arteta was desperate to get the better of Pep Guardiola and City, to finally end Arsenal’s wretched form against the reigning Premier League champions. And the Gunners did just that on Sunday, beating City 1-0 thanks to a deflected Gabriel Martinelli strike in the 86th minute.

Arsenal relentlessly pressed City at the Emirates in order to prevent Guardiola’s men from controlling possession and, in turn, the match itself. William Saliba, meanwhile, did a brilliant job to keep City’s goal machine Erling Haaland quiet.

Arsenal got their reward late on when Martinelli’s right-footed effort hit Nathan Ake, completely wrong-footing Ederson and sending the home crowd wild.

But Arsenal might not have been able to steal all three points if it weren’t for Havertz, who replaced Nketiah in the 75th minute. That is because Takehiro Tomiyasu headed a long ball from Thomas Partey into Havertz’s path in the build up to the winner. The former Chelsea man did well to hold off Ake before playing the ball into Martinelli’s path, allowing him to strike.

During an appearance on his Wrighty’s House podcast, the legendary former striker labelled Havertz ‘absolutely brilliant’. He added that selecting the German instead of Nketiah could help to make Arsenal more effective in the final third.

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“You know what, if he [Havertz] doesn’t go in there to lay it back down, we may not get that [goal against City],” Wright said.

“Because some of the times, Eddie, like I said, he did a lot of work, made so many runs.

Kai Havertz plays important role in Arsenal triumph

“But there’s times when you look in the build up when he’s either too far on the left if it’s on the right, or too far on the right if it’s on the left.

“And you just need that body, that focal point in the middle, that Thomas Partey can chip it in to, who can make sure that he chests it down to hold it and lay it back off.

“And I think that Kai Havertz coming on and doing that was absolutely brilliant for us.

“Eddie, I thought he worked his socks off and it’s very tough. Against Manchester City, your chances are few and far between.

“If you do get one, you’ve got to make sure you do the very best you can with it. At the very least you’ve got to do a lot of running the other way, a lot of that kind of stuff.

“And I think that it maybe took its toll on him in this game and he’ll probably be feeling a little bit disappointed simply because he didn’t get too many chances.

“He did a lot of work and he got taken off in the end.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham have all found out when a top Brighton star might be available for transfer.