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Arteta hails empathy of Arsenal stars to help out Havertz

Arteta hails empathy of Arsenal stars to help out Havertz

Arsenal's German midfielder #29 Kai Havertz and his teammates celebrate scoring the third goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League football match between Bournemouth and Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth on September 30, 2023.— AFP pic

BOURNEMOUTH, Oct 1 — Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised the “human qualities” of his side after Kai Havertz was handed the chance to open his account for the club from the penalty spot in a 4-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Victory took the Gunners to within one point of Manchester City at the top of the table with the sides set to meet at the Emirates next weekend.

Havertz has endured plenty of criticism after struggling to settle following a £65 million (US$79 million) move from Chelsea during the transfer window.

Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard have shared penalty duties so far this season, but after both netted in the first half, Havertz was handed the ball when Arteta’s men got a second penalty early in the second half.

The German international was mobbed by his teammates in celebration after he coolly slotted into the bottom corner.

“I’m really happy for the win, but I’m even happier to be part of a team that shows the human qualities that they did today,” said Arteta.

“Without me telling them nothing, to show that empathy to a player that has some question marks to resolve externally, they warmed me even more today. They’ve done it in a really natural way.

“To show that level of empathy and understanding, worrying and caring for somebody is just great.”

Arteta is hoping Havertz can now kick on to become a key player in Arsenal’s bid for a first Premier League title in 20 years.

“Probably it will change everything,” added Arteta.

“If he had any question marks about how we feel about him, about what he does, I think they are out.

“I think in sport — Usain Bolt said it once — ‘I have to train four years to run nine seconds’. Sometimes you have to do a lot and you don’t see that (reward).

“In that moment you see it. I think after everything he’s been through in the last few weeks that moment is worth all of it, so really happy for him.” — AFP