Saturday’s 1-0 victory away to Aston Villa saw Arsenal get back on track in their pursuit of a top 4 finish this season. The win was crucial for the Gunners’ UCL aspirations, especially after the midweek loss to Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium.
Even though that loss did not exactly mean catastrophe for Arsenal as it was only their second in the last 12 games (the other coming against Man City), every point matters in the long run and the Gunners would be pleased with the quick bounce back against Villa.
Despite the 1-0 scoreline, Arsenal managed to stamp their authority on the fixture right from kick-off and kept the Villa goal under pressure in the first half. The constant pressure led to an often-crowded Villa box and on one such occasion, Bukayo Saka buried a low strike in the 30th minute that Martinez failed to track with all the bodies in front.
Even after the opener, Arsenal continued to rack up the clear-cut chances while Villa fluffed their lines during their rare ventures out into the Arsenal penalty area.
Perhaps the home side’s best chance of the game came at the final minute of added time when Philippe Coutinho bent his effort in from a Villa set-piece just outside the box but Bernd Leno was alert enough to parry it away.
The German who was standing in for an injured Aaron Ramsdale was then mobbed by the Arsenal players for making the crucial save as the referee blew for full time.
As the Arsenal squad celebrated the win, Ramsdale walked onto the pitch and the two goalkeepers were spotted embracing with the Englishman visibly applauding Leno’s late heroics.
ahh i love this man 😍 pic.twitter.com/agEJ0rauAw— 🧑🏽🦱 (@supremile) March 19, 2022
This is not the first time that the Arsenal squad has displayed its united mentality and chemistry across the whole roster, as they have celebrated a job well done together, with each other on numerous occasions.
It has also been what Gunners fans have wanted for a long time since the departure of Arsene Wenger; a well-oiled machine on and off the pitch. That is exactly what Arsenal’s first and second choice keepers have displayed.
With Ramsdale in excellent form in the last few weeks, his absence was indeed a big blow for the Gunners. But Leno’s efforts on Saturday would give Mikel Arteta confidence that he would be there for the team as they head into a fixture crunch where all games would be finals for Arsenal.