Paul Merson says he ‘feels sorry’ for Kai Havertz and makes Arsenal vs Newcastle prediction

'An away victory at St. James' Park would be a huge statement.'

Paul Merson says he ‘feels sorry’ for Kai Havertz and makes Arsenal vs Newcastle prediction
West Ham United v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
Kai Havertz struggled again as Arsenal were knocked out of the Carabao Cup (Photo: Getty)

Paul Merson says he ‘feels a bit sorry’ for Kai Havertz as he looks ahead to Arsenal’s big clash at Newcastle United.

The Gunners travel to the Magpies on Saturday evening looking to extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League season and move top of the table.

Mikel Arteta’s side are second after 10 games, just two points behind Tottenham and level with Manchester City.

However, they go to St. James’ Park having just been, surprisingly, knocked out of the Carabao Cup by West Ham, on the same night that a depleted Newcastle recorded a stunning 3-0 win at Manchester United.

Arsenal legend Merson believes that the defeat to the Irons could prove beneficial in the long-term but may affect the team’s confidence against one of the toughest teams in the top-flight.

‘It could turn out to be a blessing for Arsenal that they were eliminated from the Carabao Cup as it allows them to put more focus on their Premier League title challenge,’ he wrote for Sportskeeda.

‘I look at this game and think if Arsenal win, the race for the league title becomes a heads or tails clash between the Gunners and Manchester City, as an away victory at St. James’ Park would be a huge statement.

Manchester United v Newcastle United - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
Newcastle play Arsenal off the back of humiliating Man Utd (Photo: Getty)

‘Newcastle have injuries but they are a good team at home and rarely lose games in front of their own fans. The West Ham result won’t hurt Arsenal in the long-term but could prove to be a bit of a knockout punch, so I’m going for a 1-1 draw here.’

One Arsenal player who does look devoid of confidence is Havertz, who has struggled to make an impact since his £65million transfer from Chelsea over the summer.

The 24-year-old has managed just one goal and one assist in 16 appearances with Arteta’s plan to repurpose the forward into a midfielder not working out at all.

Much has been made of his struggles, with Merson adding: ‘Kai Havertz started in midfield alongside Jorginho and Fabio Vieira against West Ham.

‘I felt a bit sorry for him, as that’s not his position and he doesn’t really have a fixed role in the team.’

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