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29. Kai Havertz


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Who cares? He can make it iconic just like Zola 25 and Terry 26

https://theathletic.com/2044050/2020/09/05/havertz-transfer-mclachlan-marina-phone-call-lampard-real-madrid/ Some inside info from The Athletic on our pursuit-purchase of Havertz... - Club s

I wait around all day incase we announce him and then as soon as I take an afternoon nap it happens and I miss it. 😆😆😆 LETS GOOOOO! I distinctly recall saying when we were first linked

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18 hours ago, BXL70 said:

What's happening with Kai? Why is he unfit? Bit surprising for a player we bought for £75m+

COVID-19 long hauler

hope he is not perma damaged ☹️

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Frustrating that Havertz has only been here 168 days: No pre season, had decent start to then catch Covid, learning under 1 coach for him to get sacked,work under a new coach to try and prove a point to then get injured. Foolish to write him off

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Last season maybe even the season before he started really slow but than turned into beast mode for Leverkusen in the second part of the season.

First part of the season: 

2 goals and 1 assist. 

2nd part: 16 goals 8 assists. 

He had many set backs this season: new league without pre season, manager who didn't want him, played out of position, Covid and this latest injury. 

But he is fit now. Can we expect something similar from him now in Chelsea? I expect him to explode at some point. Probably next season. 

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Quotes from Tuchel about Havertz

“He is a unique player. It’s not so clear where he needs to settle. Does he need to settle on one special position? Or is he kind of a hybrid player? Today, I would say he’s in between a nine and a 10, something in between.

“He’s very comfortable in the box; he’s very comfortable in high positions, he’s very good at offensive headers, he has good timing to arrive in the box, good finishing, good composure in the box, around the box, and very comfortable in high positions so between nine and 10.”

 

 

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And to bring the best of him, it could be mean it will really depend on the system and how well other player around him

If other factor around him doesn't going well, Kai could be never be good enough as a number ten nor as a striker in a high level

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43 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

So two completely different opinions. 

Tuchel: Between 9 and 10. 

Lampard: 8 and RW. 

😂

He never said that he was a right winger. 

Also, Havertz himself says he is a no. 8 or no. 10.

I think Tuchel's description is very good. 

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28 minutes ago, MoroccanBlue said:

The possibility of him playing beneath Werner and Haaland gives me a boner. 

Beneath...boner...The whole sentence just feels wrong. 🤣

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22 minutes ago, killer1257 said:

He never said that he was a right winger. 

I know but he played him as number 8 and RW. Which are two different positions from what Tuchel think it's his best. 

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1 hour ago, Strike said:

Quotes from Tuchel about Havertz

“He is a unique player. It’s not so clear where he needs to settle. Does he need to settle on one special position? Or is he kind of a hybrid player? Today, I would say he’s in between a nine and a 10, something in between.

“He’s very comfortable in the box; he’s very comfortable in high positions, he’s very good at offensive headers, he has good timing to arrive in the box, good finishing, good composure in the box, around the box, and very comfortable in high positions so between nine and 10.”

Time for False 9?

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53 minutes ago, Jason said:

Time for False 9?

I know that formation causes controversy on here but I'm a big fan of it (I the appropriate player is up there) these days.

As Liverpool have shown with an appropriate player playing that role it can be lethal.

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1 hour ago, MoroccanBlue said:

The possibility of him playing beneath Werner and Haaland gives me a boner. 

Funny how from no left footed attackers for years now we have Kai, Hakim and possibly Haaland next season.

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1 hour ago, NikkiCFC said:

Funny how from no left footed attackers for years now we have Kai, Hakim and possibly Haaland next season.

Think the last two we had were Salah and Mata with Mourinho but yeah for a while, its something we have lacked. 

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‘He’s unique’ – Why Havertz has skills to shine as Chelsea’s false nine

https://theathletic.com/2424103/2021/03/04/hes-unique-why-havertz-has-skills-to-shine-as-chelseas-false-nine/?source=emp_shared_article

Thomas Tuchel’s post-match explanation of why he left out Tammy Abraham to face Manchester United hinted at what may lie ahead for Kai Havertz at Chelsea.

“It was about judging the alternatives that we have and we opted for Oli (Giroud) to begin, Timo (Werner) on the bench. We have Kai who can play as a No 9, so there was no need to bring a fourth No 9 to the pitch.”

Chelsea fans haven’t seen much of Havertz as a striker during his fragmented and underwhelming start to life in England. Lampard only deployed him up front once, starting him as a false nine at home to Liverpool in September. There were one or two nice combinations with Werner and Mason Mount but, thanks to the red card shown to Andreas Christensen on the stroke of half-time, the experiment only lasted 45 minutes and was never revived.

Havertz said his favourite position is No 10 at his unveiling as a Chelsea player but insisted he feels comfortable in virtually every attacking role. Tuchel has a similarly nuanced view of his countryman’s tactical value. “He is a unique player,” Chelsea’s head coach said last week. “It’s not so clear where he needs to settle, does it need to be in one position? Or is he kind of a hybrid player?

“Today, I would say he’s in between a nine and a 10. He’s very comfortable in the box and in high positions. He’s very good at offensive headers, he has good timing to arrive in the box, good finishing, good composure in the box, around the box — so between nine and 10.”

Lampard never quite figured out how to maximise Havertz, and wasn’t helped by the Germany international being left bed-bound for more than a week after testing positive for COVID-19 in November. When he did play, he was most commonly deployed as a No 10 in a 4-2-3-1 or as a No 8 on the right of a three-man midfield in an expansive 4-3-3 — both roles that he had performed with distinction at different stages of his Bundesliga career with Bayer Leverkusen.

It’s even harder to draw solid conclusions about Havertz’s utility under Tuchel; he has only started once, as the “right 10” in a goalless draw at home to Wolves, and subsequently missed more training time with what his head coach described simply as a “muscle injury”. Now he is fit again, there is every chance he will be given another opportunity to shine as a false nine for Chelsea again. But what can he offer in that role?


Havertz played the final stretch of his Leverkusen career as a false nine, being shifted to the point of attack by coach Peter Bosz in March 2020 after injuries to Kevin Volland and Lucas Alario.

He responded by registering eight goals — six of which came from open play — and two assists in 10 appearances across all competitions on either side of the COVID-19 shutdown, galvanising his team’s depleted attack and boosting his own final third production following a disappointing first half of the campaign.

Eintracht Frankfurt were the first victims of Leverkusen’s new-look front line, losing 4-0 at BayArena, with Havertz scoring the opening goal inside four minutes.

As shown below, Havertz drops back into midfield to launch a trademark surging run from the halfway line as Wendell plays the ball forward along the left touchline for Moussa Diaby to chase.

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The moment that Diaby takes possession and sizes up his defender, Havertz is already signalling that he wants to be the target of the eventual cross.

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By the time it arrives, he is in a position to stretch out his long right leg and poke the ball beyond Kevin Trapp.

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In the second half, he picks up the ball earlier, having drifted into the right half-space in front of the Eintracht defence.

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He dribbles one stride towards the penalty area before identifying the right option, playing a cleverly disguised pass with the outside of his left foot between two defenders for winger Paulinho, who finishes neatly.

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Havertz’s 6ft 2in frame and heading ability also makes him a threat during the moments when he operates as a true No 9. In Leverkusen’s next Bundesliga game against Werder Bremen, he scored two headers in five first-half minutes.

The move that leads to the opening goal begins with him standing on the shoulder of the defence as Kerem Demirbay shapes to switch the point of attack to Diaby on the right flank.

Havertz-fn-4.png

Diaby makes his way into a crossing position and Havertz has drifted into the box, where he eyes a pocket of space towards the back post.

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The floated cross is on target, and Havertz rises to head it in despite severe pressure from a defender at his back.

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A few minutes later, Havertz is preparing to attack the penalty area like a standard centre-forward as Demirbay aims to deliver the ball into a prime heading position.

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Demirbay’s ball in is perfect and Havertz meets it in stride with another header that would make any striker proud.

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But the majority of Havertz’s goals during this stretch were the result of him dropping deep to contribute to Leverkusen’s build-up, then making the most of his instincts for finding dangerous positions in the final third to score. Here, away at Borussia Monchengladbach, he begins his forward run from just inside his own half as Demirbay wins the ball.

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Demirbay passes to Karim Bellarabi on the right flank and Havertz clicks into top gear, providing the winger with an option to pass in behind the Gladbach defence.

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Bellarabi’s pass finds him unmarked in the penalty area, and he slips a low right-footed shot beyond Yann Sommer.

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Away at Freiburg a week later, Havertz comes short to show for Charles Aranguiz and immediately flicks the ball around the corner to Leon Bailey.

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Bailey advances into the box and Havertz continues his run, offering a possible overlap just as his team-mate seems in danger of getting crowded out by Freiburg defenders…

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Bailey slips the ball inside his man and Havertz latches onto it, poking in a low shot from a tight angle.

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Finally, in the first half of a match against Cologne the following month, Havertz picks up the ball on the halfway line and switches the ball out to Wendell, who has space to move into on the left flank.

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Wendell passes forward to Bailey and when the Jamaica international looks up to cross, it is Havertz who has covered the yards to get himself into a prime shooting position in the penalty area. The ball is cut back and Havertz hits it high into the net.

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Bosz’s decision to move Havertz up front was inspired and was quickly vindicated by a series of performances that bolstered his reputation as one of the most exciting young players in Europe.


Look back at many of the images above and a pattern emerges: Havertz regularly manages to run unchallenged for 40 or 50 yards to arrive in shooting positions in the penalty area. Those opportunities have been few and far between under Tuchel for Chelsea, who have faced a succession of opponents content to defend in a low block and compress the space as much as possible in their own defensive third.

Havertz would need to adjust to that, but the other main qualities he offers as a false nine to a team in possession — the ability to drop deep and link play, finding an incisive pass and providing an aerial threat in the penalty area — should translate to English football. More intriguingly, he could also provide significant value as the point of Chelsea’s attack when they don’t have the ball.

Leverkusen were one of the highest pressing teams in European football last season, allowing just 9.4 passes per defensive action (PPDA). Havertz was an important part of that collective press, whether in his attacking midfield role or as a false nine in the final stretch of the 2019-20 campaign.

His statistical profile can be seen most clearly in these graphics using data from smarterscout, a site that gives players a rating from 0-99, relating to either how often they do a given stylistic action (eg, shooting volume), or how effective they are (eg, at progressing the ball upfield) compared with others playing in their position. This is what Havertz’s contribution looked like when he played up front last season.

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As you can see, Havertz had a relatively low shot volume and penalty box presence when deployed as a false nine under Bosz. He did, however, have a startlingly high defensive workload, underlining his responsibility at the head of Leverkusen’s aggressive press. He averaged 5.24 pressures per 90 minutes in the attacking third in Bundesliga matches, and only 1.65 per 90 minutes in his own defensive third.

For a coach like Tuchel, who prizes ball recoveries in the final third above almost anything else in his system, Havertz’s ability to lead the team press makes him a particularly attractive option. In fact, the statistical profile above bears some similarity to what Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, the quintessential Premier League false nine, has done for the defending champions this season.

pizza_roberto_firmino_ST_2020-21.png

Tuchel’s system doesn’t require his No 9 to be a fixed penalty area presence. Whenever Abraham (No 9) or Giroud (No 18) have started for him, their primary responsibility is to drop deeper and bring others into play. Look at Abraham’s average position within Chelsea’s formation against Burnley in the graphic below:

Chelsea-average-positions-vs-Burnley-202

And now note Giroud’s average position against Manchester United. In both cases, Chelsea’s nominal striker has at least one team-mate in advance of them:

Chelsea-average-positions-vs-Man-Utd.png

It’s not hard to imagine Havertz fulfilling a similar role in a system that, so far, has been primarily geared towards generating chances for Werner in his “left 10” position.


English football is yet to see anything like the best of Havertz. Much of that is down to a combination of bad luck and unfavourable circumstances, not least the upheaval of a mid-season coaching change. Tuchel might be saying positive things about a lot of the players he isn’t picking, but his glowing words about the “unlimited potential” of Chelsea’s marquee signing last summer should probably be taken at face value for now.

Everyone at Chelsea, from owner Roman Abramovich down, has a vested interest in seeing Havertz justify the spectacular hype that surrounded him for much of his time at Leverkusen. His nature as an ultra-modern “hybrid player” makes the challenge of maximising him in any given system less straightforward, but it also makes the possible rewards for doing so more tantalising. The best version of him should be capable of consistently winning Premier League games.

Is that best version going to be realised by deploying him as a false nine? Only time will tell, but Tuchel is talking like a coach who is ready to try it and, considering Chelsea’s broader attacking struggles, he doesn’t have much to lose.

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On 27/02/2021 at 16:01, MoroccanBlue said:

I'd like to see Werner, Havertz, and Ziyech as the front three at some point with this system. 

Can't do that as we would have zero press. Maybe against the likes of WBA but that would be highly risky against any decent team considering out CM's are so small. 

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32 minutes ago, King Kante said:

Can't do that as we would have zero press. Maybe against the likes of WBA but that would be highly risky against any decent team considering out CM's are so small. 

We just played with Giroud and Ziyech. Against Wolverhampton in the first Tuchel's game Ziyech, Havertz and Giroud. I didn't see any issues. So Werner for Giroud as MoroccanBlue suggested and it would be even better in terms of press. All our attackers are actually great at pressing except for Olie. 

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