You are currently viewing Kai Havertz, the brightening of his life

Main blaster of Blues during the first leg against LOSC, Kai Havertz is experiencing his most prosperous period since his arrival at Chelsea at the age of 22 and confirms that he has the ideas to be the offensive sun around which Thomas Tuchel can turn his other stars with success. A random ? No: a confirmation.

And suddenly, Kai Havertz discovered peace. A few weeks earlier, the German international, decisive scorer in the Champions League final in Porto, had just been pushed into madness. With this goal, Havertz saw the criticisms that came whistling in his ears disappear during his first months in England, during which Frank Lampard notably strolled him between positions, but could also expect to live with new pressure: that of the hero. Gift: In the middle of August, Romelu Lukaku arrived and grabbed the spotlight, but also everything that can go with it. There were only more for the former Inter striker, who returned like a king to London. The performances of the Belgian have been deciphered by all the surgeons, his first outings maintained the hope of a triumphant return, then crash. The sequel was told in all the living rooms, but above all left Kai Havertz running for the first time in an eternity without the weight of his transfer at a golden price (80 million euros). In October, an injury to Lukaku thus opened a first door: starting against Norwich for the fifth time in the league season, the first in his favorite role as striker-leader Totti version of the late 2000s, Havertz was at the center of a fireworks display (7-0) and then delivered its first real successful copy of the 2021-2022 financial year during a trip to Newcastle (0-3). Then a second door, also opened by the puzzle that Lukaku has gradually become for Tuchel, saw the former Leverkusen player return to the center of the table. We then found the detached Havertz, this fragile guide who arrived at football to dance between outstretched legs, who likes to let the ball roll to better take it along once his race has started and who puts on his crampons to chase the spaces.

Tuchel’s ghost

But who is he, exactly? He himself does not really know, as he whispered to the Guardian last summer : “I always hear people say they don’t know exactly where I am. To be honest, I don’t know her exactly either. It’s between the 10 and the 9. I don’t like to stay a whole match in a specific position. I like to float around. » Kai Havertz is a ghost, who dives into opponents’ wounds before they are covered with a bandage, who thinks faster than others and knows how to appear where the game requires. In recent weeks, this is what Chelsea supporters have found: Havertz, decisive in the final of the Club World Cup, was one of the main players in the capture of the Dogues Lille (2-0) and followed that up by planting four times in four games in all competitions. Better still, it was perhaps when he remained silent, against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final, that he made his most complete copy.


We then saw him sting in all areas: starting from his left half-space, first, where, found by Kovačić…


… he can take advantage of the open space to orient the game on the opposite side towards Azpilicueta.


We also saw him start in depth in the back of the red side – here Alexander-Arnold …


… and apply to the center – here for Mount.


But we also saw it on the right, the target of reversals…


…to find Pulisic in depth…


… or be a launch pad…


… for Mount, who arrived to wrap up the move.

A year ago, Thomas Tuchel wondered with a smile: “Kai is a different player, but it’s still not really clear what position he should settle in: should he be in one position or should he be some sort of hybrid player? Today, as he often says, he is between 9 and 10. He has the composure to evolve in the box, he is comfortable in the last third of the opposition, he is good in the aerial duel , he knows how to finish, find the spaces… » A few days ago, in the wake of the victory of the Blues in Burnley (0-4), the German technician again underlined “huge volume” brought by its number 29. “He covers a lot of ground, at high intensity, and he puts intensity on whatever system the opponent is against us.continued Tuchel. I find that in addition, he uses his body more and more and that he likes to come and create the surplus in the half-spaces. He is confident. » It is above all a devastating key for a Chelsea which never seems so difficult to stop as when it advances with a trio as liquid in its operation as that formed by Mason Mount, Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz. The profile of Havertz, perfectly suited to the football of his time and currently having a blast in the role he played at the end of his adventure in Leverkusen with Peter Bosz, is perfect for Tuchel’s system and offers variety – binding between the lines, threat in depth, wasp invested in the pressing, comfortable to finish in the air… – difficult to channel for the opposing organizations. On Saturday, Newcastle were the latest victim of the scarecrow of Aachen, scorer late in the game against the Magpies (1-0) on a gentle opening by Jorginho, free for one of the few times in the game, after which Havertz was able to disappear behind the shoulder of Dan Burn to better sting. Above all, it was a lead sought almost throughout the game by Antonio Rüdiger to get the ball out behind the first two black curtains and then combine in small spaces with his teammates.


From the first minute of play, Rüdiger, helped by the movements of the Kanté-Jorginho-Mount trio, was able to seek Havertz behind the Newcastle midfielder.


Two minutes later, we found Havertz, this time to help Chalobah…


…and tie up Chelsea’s quick attacks.


A few seconds later, Havertz is in the area, on the fallout of a possible center.


Still in the first half against Newcastle, still with Rüdiger…


… the offset is created.


LOSC is already aware of these situations: in the first leg, Havertz was also quickly a key to getting the balls out against the northern pressing …


… and then confuse Lille’s defensive line with its empty runs.


Another sequence where, found by a Pulisic on the way out of the dribble…


…Havertz can turn around and send Marcos Alonso through.

Fish between the meshes, technically fine artist, clever to poke in the back of the side and element combining determination and defensive intelligence without ball (he never disconnects from the block), which can bring him closer to Roberto Firmino in profile, even s he is perhaps even more complete, or on the way to being, than the Brazilian of the RedsKai Havertz, to whom Thomas Tuchel sees a “unlimited potential” , will undoubtedly be the main threat to control for LOSC, which does not have the centrals to come out high and this time will have to adjust the sometimes huge space left between its defensive line and its midfield, at the risk of exploding again in the management of large spaces. On the eve of finding Chelsea, here is Jocelyn Gourvennec condemned to join the Ghostbusters.

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By Maxime Brigand

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