|Bukayo Saka breezes past Douglas Luiz and Emiliano Buendia in Arsenal's 1-0 win at Villa Park on Saturday. (Photo credit: Premierleague.com)|
Arsenal improved their hold on the fourth spot in the premier league with an impressive performance in their 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday.
Steven Gerrard was full of praise for the good works Mikel Arteta is doing at Arsenal in his pre-match interview as well as the hierarchy of the club for giving him enough time to implement his ideas, the Arsenal manager also praised Gerrard for turning things around at Villa following the sack of Dean Smith.
Gerrard made three changes to his starting line up, former Arsenal defender Callum Chambers was sidelined by injuries, Ezri Konsa came in for him, Ashley Young replaced Lucas Digne and Emiliano Buendia came in for Danny Ings.
Arsenal made a very big call in goal, Aaron Ramsdale injured his hip against Liverpool and Bernd Leno came in for the first time since conceding five against Manchester City in August; Gabriel Martinelli missed out due to illness, Emile Smith Rowe came in for him.
Arsenal were quick out of the blocks. Emiliano Martinez had to bail out his Konsa as he nearly scored an own goal, Bukayo Saka danced round the Villa defense and set up Smith Rowe but the youngster blazed over with the goal gapping.
Arsenal took the lead not long afterwards. Saka’s short freekick to Cedric Soares landed in the box and ricocheted out to Saka who fired a low shot past sea of legs in front of Martinez, it was Arsenal’s 2000th league goal in the premier league.
Aston Villa didn’t have a single shot on goal throughout the first half, the last time that happened to them in the league was at the Emirates against Arsenal in the autumn, just before Dean Smith got fired and the subsequent arrival of the former Rangers manager.
The second half saw better works from the hosts, the introduction of Bertrand Traore and Leon Bailley injected life into the Villa team. For all their renewed energy, they didn’t have a single shot on target until the last minute of the game.
Arsenal dominated the game from start to finish, and in the moment of uncertainty, they defended deep and shut Villa out, what they lacked in the absence of Ramsdale, they made up for it with compact possession based football.
Arsenal are now four points clear of Manchester United and have played one game less than the Old Trafford outfit.