Arsenal and Mikel Arteta labelled ‘unprofessional’ for Kai Havertz decision in Bournemouth win

Joe Williams
Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz
Kai Havertz celebrates scoring a goal against Bournemouth.

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal demonstrated “a lack of professionalism” in their win over Bournemouth by allowing Kai Havertz to take a penalty, according to former Liverpool player Steve Nicol.

Havertz moved across London in the summer transfer window with the Gunners paying £65m to buy the Germany international from Chelsea.

But the 24-year-old went his first nine appearances in all competitions without scoring or assisting a goal for Arsenal before he converted a penalty against Bournemouth in a 4-0 win over Saturday.

Martin Odegaard had already taken a penalty to make it 2-0 but the Arsenal captain gave Havertz the chance to score his first goal of the season on 53 minutes from the spot.

Havertz duly obliged to make it 3-0 but former Liverpool defender Nicol insists it was a poor decision with the game “not over” at 2-0.

Nicol said on ESPN: “If Arsenal’s life depends on it, Saka takes it or Odegaard takes it. Havertz doesn’t take it. At 2-0 the game’s not over. It’s a lack of professionalism.

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“What happens if he misses it and Bournemouth get two late goals? That’s not what you do. If you’re the coach of a team and allow that things like that to happen, then it spreads into other things. You have to be precise. And orders are orders.

“Do you think him scoring a goal there is going to make any difference to the way he plays in the middle of the park? No, it’s not. It’s unprofessional.”

Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has brought an update on Arsenal’s intentions to renew Ben White’s contract after recently securing a new deal for Odegaard.

Romano wrote in his Caught Offside column: “As reported on Sunday, Arsenal are now working to extend Ben White’s contract. He’s the next player on their list after the recent new deal for Martin Odegaard, and for other important players like Bukayo Saka, William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli in recent months.

“Precisely when talks will happen I don’t know, it’s not something that sources want to share so we have to wait and see. But Arsenal’s plan is clear, they want White to sign new contract so negotiations will continue for sure.

“White has been a big success at Arsenal but we’re yet to see him replicate that on the international stage. Still, I’m sure he will have chance to be part of England regular team soon as he’s very good in different positions, proper modern defender. I’m a big fan of how he’s performed for Arsenal so I’m sure he’ll get that chance to do it for his country as well.”