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Manchester City logo
Premier League | Gameweek 30
Mar 31, 2024 at 4.30pm UK
Etihad Stadium
Arsenal logo

Man City
0 - 0
Arsenal

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Kai Havertz out to match Thierry Henry record in Manchester City clash

Kai Havertz out to match Thierry Henry record in Man City clash
© Reuters
Kai Havertz is bidding to equal an Arsenal goalscoring record set by Thierry Henry when the Gunners face Manchester City in Sunday's Premier League showdown.

Arsenal attacker Kai Havertz could equal a club goalscoring record set by Thierry Henry when the Gunners take on Manchester City in Sunday's mouthwatering Etihad showdown.

Many an eyebrow was raised when the North London giants shelled out £65m to bring Havertz to the club from Chelsea, where he had failed to live up to the potential he showed at Bayer Leverkusen.

Mikel Arteta's midfield experiment with Havertz - who initially slotted into the left eight role vacated by Bayer Leverkusen-bound Granit Xhaka - did not pay dividends, leading to fierce criticism of both the Spaniard and Havertz.

The Arsenal boss repeatedly called for Gooners to retain belief in Havertz, who began to repay Arteta's faith in the autumn and hit a rich vein of form just before the international break, scoring in four straight Premier League matches.

The Germany international made the net ripple against Burnley, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Brentford - in addition to providing two assists - and he is expected to get the nod up top when the Gunners take on the champions on Sunday.

Arsenal's Kai Havertz scores their second goal on March 9, 2024© Reuters

Debut season delight for Kai

Should the former Leverkusen starlet breach Man City's backline on Sunday, he will become just the second Arsenal player to score in five successive Premier League games during their first campaign at the club.

The only previous Gunners attacker to achieve that five-match feat was all-time top scorer Henry, who scored in his final seven top-flight appearances of the 1999-2000 season after his own slow start to life in North London.

Henry only netted once in his first 12 top-flight games for Arsenal before justifying Arsene Wenger's decision to stick with him, and Arteta is now reaping the rewards of persisting with Havertz, who has already equalled his best Premier League goalscoring season with eight strikes.

Arteta lavished praise on the 24-year-old's "really complete" displays in his pre-match press conference, saying: "He's been in great form. His overall performances have been really complete both for his country and us, and then his goalscoring threat obviously.

"It's a player who has been playing different positions and fulfilling those roles in a great way. We will see how we use him for this game."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta before the match on March 4, 2024© Reuters

Attacking duo still doubtful for Etihad trip

While Havertz can be expected to operate at the focal point of the attack, there are still two major question marks over who will be the German's supporting cast, as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli bid to battle back to full fitness.

Saka pulled out of the England camp with a muscular injury before the Three Lions' friendlies with Brazil and Belgium, while Martinelli sustained a painful cut to his foot during the 6-0 thrashing of Sheffield United at the start of the month.

Neither man had returned to team training by the time Arteta faced the media on Friday afternoon, but the Spaniard affirmed that Saka, Martinelli and centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes - who is nursing an Achilles problem - would have a "chance" of playing.

Reiss Nelson, Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard, Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe represent Arsenal's alternative options in the wide areas, although ACL victim Jurrien Timber is guaranteed to be unavailable.

Arteta's men hold a one-point lead over Man City at the top of the table, but they will drop down to second spot by the time Sunday's main event kicks off if Liverpool take at least a point from their clash with Brighton & Hove Albion.

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