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  • Updated: March 19, 2022

EPL: Saka's Strike Seals Top Four Spot For Arsenal Away At Aston Villa

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Oladimeji Balogun
Oladimeji Balogun

Oladimeji Balogun is a graduate of the University of Ilorin where he studied Microbiology, he is a w...

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Bukayo Saka's lone strike was enough for Arsenal to beat Aston Villa 1-0 to open up a four-point lead in fourth in the Premier League on their way back into Champions League football after 5 years.

The Gunners could even increase that gap with a game in hand over fifth-placed Manchester United and were well worthy of the three points against a toothless Villa despite the narrow scoreline.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had complained about the tight turnaround his side faced after Wednesday's 2-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

 

That defeat ended a five-game winning run and there was no sign of tiredness from the visitors in the early stages.

Emile Smith Rowe returned to the starting line-up as one of two changes as Gabriel Martinelli and Aaron Ramsdale missed out through illness and injury respectively.

Smith Rowe had the first chance inside the three minutes when he fired over from Martin Odegaard's pass.

Odegaard and Thomas Partey were dominating the midfield and a nice move between the two deserved a better finish from the Ghanian as he fired straight at Emiliano Martinez.

The former Arsenal goalkeeper then denied his former club the opening goal with a stunning save low to his left to prevent Ezri Konsa turning into his own net from Saka's dangerous cross.

Saka was a constant threat and fittingly got the only goal on 30 minutes when Villa failed to clear a free-kick and he fired low past Martinez from the edge of the area.

Arsenal players surrounded referee Andy Madley moments later begging for a red card after Tyrone Mings caught Saka, but the England international got away with just a booking.

Villa improved after the break but lacked the creativity to break Arsenal down as Philippe Coutinho failed to hit the heights of his best form since joining on loan from Barcelona.

John McGinn curled a shot just wide and Ollie Watkins' deflected effort came back off the outside of the post with Villa's best chances to snatch an equaliser.

Ramsdale's absence meant Bernd Leno was making his first Premier League appearance since August.

The German was not forced into a save until the final kick of the game when he parried Coutinho's free-kick to safety and was mobbed by his teammates at fulltime as Arsenal celebrated a big three points in their quest to get back to European football's elite competition.

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Oladimeji Balogun
Oladimeji Balogun

Oladimeji Balogun is a graduate of the University of Ilorin where he studied Microbiology, he is a w...

More From this Author

English Premier League 2021/2022 TABLE

English Premier League
No Teams P Pts
1 Manchester City 38 93
2 Liverpool 38 92
3 Chelsea 38 74
4 Tottenham Hotspur 38 71
5 Arsenal 38 69
Full Table

SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Bukayo Saka
Bukayo
Saka
EN England
  • HEIGHT

    1.78m

  • WEIGHT

    65kg

  • AGE

    20

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SPORTS SPOTLIGHT

Arsenal
Arsenal

Arsenal Football Club is a professional football club based in Islington, London, England, that plays in the Premier League, the top flight ...

Aston Villa
Aston Villa

Aston Villa Football Club (nicknamed Villa) is an English professional football club based in Aston, Birmingham. The club competes in the Pr...

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