A former Premier League star took a sarcastic swipe at the form of striker Kai Havertz after Arsenal’s Champions League victory in Seville on Tuesday evening. Goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus earned Mikel Arteta’s side a 2-1 away win that puts them top of Group B after two matches. The Gunners are also flying high in the Premier League but German international Havertz has struggled since his £65million move from Chelsea last summer.
The 24-year-old only has one goal and one assist to his name from 14 appearances in all competitions and only played 17 minutes of the match against Sevilla as a second-half substitute, with Arteta preferring to start with a front three of Bukayo Saka, Jesus and Martinelli.
Arsenal’s firepower was discussed after the match on CBS Sports with former Aston Villa captain Nigel Reo-Coker and ex-MLS star Michael Lahoud both having their say.
First speaking about goalscorer Jesus, Lahoud said: “This was an important match for him. I thought he had a terrible performance against Chelsea and Arsenal fans have been disappointed with him – the inconsistency and goalscoring in the Premier League but not in the Champions League. He’s scored in each of their matches so far. Apart from Saka, you need to look no further than Jesus. He’s wearing the armband now. He is a player who needs to come good for Arsenal to have a chance in the Champions League.”
Reo-Coker, who scored 11 goals across seven seasons in the Premier League, agreed with Lahoud but added his own viewpoint. Reo-Coker said: “Gabriel Jesus is a top player, he’s never going to be a clinical striker. That is what I still feel that Arsenal are missing. If you look at the opportunities he gets, they should be in the back of the net, but that’s never been him.
“What he’s brought to Arsenal is a different intensity because he’s a difference-maker. He’s got the ability to have individual brilliances. But it’s not just about those moments, it’s the half-chances that he gets that he needs to put into the back of the net. He was their saviour tonight, with a fantastic performance.”
When the Golazo show host Poppy Miller asked: “Are you not sold with Kai Havertz being the new number 9?,” Lahoud belly laughed in the studio before Re-Coker sarcastically said: “Erm yes, I plead the fifth.”
The American phrase means to plead the Fifth Amendment, exercising his right to remain silent so as not to incriminate himself.
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Despite the TV pundits appearing to already right Havertz off, teammate Jorginho, who also played with the German at Chelsea, is sticking by him.
Speaking after the Champions League triumph in Spain, the Brazilian said: “I think Kai has so much potential. I have tried to stay close to him, because to be honest he is a great guy and an amazing footballer. He has just arrived at the club. There are so many new things for him to adapt to and learn.
“Of course, he is going to show so much, but I think he is doing well. I’m sure he is hungry for much more and I’m sure he will do it.”
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