Ashley Cole criticises Kai Havertz and identifies Chelsea’s ‘problem’ after Arsenal defeat

Kai Havertz runs with the ball during Chelsea's Premier League defeat to Arsenal
Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz blazed his early effort way over the crossbar (Picture: Getty)

Ashley Cole took aim at Kai Havertz after Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat to Arsenal and felt the derby would have been a ‘totally different game’ had the German converted his early chance at Stamford Bridge.

Havertz will have been bursting with confidence after completing a brace while playing as a false nine in Chelsea’s previous Premier League clash with Fulham but the 21-year-old ballooned his effort over the crossbar by a distance after nicking the ball off Pablo Mari.

Arsenal capitalised on Jorginho’s horrendous backpass not long after as Emile Smith Rowe beat Kepa Arrizabalaga from close range and the 16th-minute strike proved decisive, with the visitors holding firm to secure all three points.

The result will give both West Ham and Liverpool a glimmer of hope in their pursuit of Champions League football and Cole criticised his former club for missing an opportunity to kill off their top-four rivals in his post-match analysis for Sky Sports.

Chelsea 0-1 Arsenal: Thomas Tuchel press conference

The legendary ex-Chelsea, Arsenal and England left-back argued that the side’s wastefulness in front of goal had been their ‘problem’ for much of the season.

‘They did [have chances]. I think if Havertz takes his chance, it’s a totally different game,’ the legendary ex-Chelsea, Arsenal and England left-back said.

‘He has to score there. He showed glimpses of magic in the past games but there he has to finish.

‘It’s just one of them games, a lot of players had an off day at the wrong time today. It happens.

‘They’ve got to regroup, go again, find that energy and that intensity in the next game and make sure they take their chances because that’s been the problem with Chelsea this season.’

Ashley Cole looks on during Chelsea's FA Cup clash with Manchester City
Chelsea legend Cole was less than impressed with the side’s finishing (Picture: Getty)

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Thomas Tuchel – who made seven changes to his starting XI – suggested Arsenal were ‘totally lucky’ to emerge with maximum points from the clash.

‘It’s easy to say this is a totally lucky win and nobody can argue with that,’ the Chelsea head coach said.

‘It is not a deserved win, not at all for Arsenal. But I don’t want to go there for 100 per cent because we all lacked concentration, we lacked focus. That is very unusual.

‘Maybe I also gave some signals to the team with changes that Saturday is on my mind.

‘This is not how we approach things and you get punished. So we suffer now from another defeat. It’s hard to swallow, hard to accept. But there’s no other way.’

Tuchel will likely ring the changes again this weekend when Chelsea take on Leicester in Sunday’s FA Cup final showdown with Leicester. Just three days later, the two teams meet in the English top flight.

The Blues then have a trip to Aston Villa before departing for their highly-anticipated Champions League final against Manchester City on May 29.

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