Declan Rice hailed the mindset of Kai Havertz after he broke his Arsenal duck with a goal in Saturday’s impressive Premier League win at Bournemouth.
The Gunners strolled to a 4-0 victory at the Vitality Stadium as Bukayo Saka headed them in front with a Martin Odegaard penalty doubling the lead before Havertz stroked home a spot-kick of his own and Ben White wrapped up the points with a stoppage-time header.
The win takes Arsenal a point off the top of the table ahead of the visit of reigning champions Manchester City next Sunday.
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It remains to be seen if Havertz will start that game having struggled to make an impact following his £65million move across London from Chelsea in the summer, although manager Mikel Arteta said he hoped this would “change everything” for the Germany international.
Saka had initially collected the ball to take the second penalty before ceding responsibility to Havertz, whose conversion was met with jubilant celebrations from team-mates and the travelling fans alike.
“It was emotional, for the fans, for Kai, for everyone involved, because we want him to succeed so much,” said fellow new recruit Rice.
“Honestly, he works his socks off every day in training. In games he gives absolutely everything.
“He’s had chances to score this year, hadn’t scored yet, but today to slot away a penalty in that high-pressure moment shows the mindset that he’s got, shows the talent he’s got and his all-round performance was so special.
“We’re a young group of lads who really believe and trust in the manager. He’s brought that environment into the club, and the whole energy around the place in terms of staff, the players, the fans at the Emirates.
“It’s such a special feeling. It’s really good to be a part of and like I said, that’s why I came to Arsenal, It’s real honour to play for this club and when there are special moments like this, it’s really good.”
Bournemouth remain winless in the Premier League under head coach Andoni Iraola and never looked like ending that run against their superior visitors.
“We have to be better,” Iraola told afcbTV.
“We have some minimum (requirements), everyone needs to run and needs to fight – we need to be better especially at both ends.
“We were not pressing correctly but we all tried and didn’t give up but we have to do much better. The fans have been very good with us, we cannot ask for more.”