At Audi Field on Tuesday, in a well-attended skills challenge, Kai Havertz had 14 goes at the cross and volley competition. He failed with all 14.

Fast forward 24 hours and when Marquinhos sent a cross to the far post from the right wing in the final minute of Arsenal’s 5-0 win against Major League Soccer’s All-Stars, Havertz steadied himself, controlled on his chest and smashed a strike into the far corner.

That’s the thing about football. Deliver when it matters.

Evidently, there will be nights that matter far more than this for Arsenal.

Yet, on a sweltering evening, in front of a crowd in excess of 20,000 at Audi Field, the majority of whom were Gunners supporters and who cheered co-chair Josh Kroenke when he was introduced as part of the pre-match presentation party, Havertz was not alone in feeling satisfied with his performance.

It’s a footnote but it was the biggest win ever by a European side in the All-Star game.

“Really pleased,” was manager Mikel Arteta’s assessment after goals from Gabriel Jesus, Leandro Trossard, Jorginho, Gabriel Martinelli and Havertz gave his side victory.

Havertz can be Arteta’s flexible friend
When social media clips of his efforts on Tuesday started doing the rounds, they generated a lot of sarcastic responses, something he experienced during his time at Chelsea, which could be described as erratic.

Yet, in the end, he was being asked to play a role he was ill suited to.

Arteta wants Havertz as a flexible attacking player. Evidently, Jesus will play as a central striker but the German was pushed up alongside him near the end after initially being introduced on the left of a three-man midfield, operating ahead of Jorginho, who was the anchor.

“He gives us something different with his quality and his height,” said Arteta.

“For example, he can be the target man if we need to beat the press. He’s playing at the attacking midfield position for now but I’m sure throughout the season he’ll be used in different positions.”

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