While it was not one of Arsenal’s more eye-grabbing performances, a 1-0 win over Aston Villa was another vital three points for the Gunners before the March international break. It’s winning that counts at this stage of the Premier League season and the growing resilience of the Arsenal side points to a potentially positive outcome at the end of this campaign.
Villa Park Wins Gives Huge Lift
The battle for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season has been as fierce as ever, with seven teams still harbouring hopes of landing one of those much-coveted places. While Manchester City are the 11/5 favourites in the Champions League odds from Betfair to win the tournament, Arsenal are still battling their way to get back to the elite European competition. Champions League tips have Pep Guardiola’s City as strong contenders to lift the trophy for the first time this season, while Arsenal will be hoping they can be competing for their first title next term. There is certainly a long way to go for the Gunners this season, but the win at Villa Park in March was a big step forward.
The Gunners would have hoped to have killed the game off in the second half but ultimately it was a 30th-minute strike from England international Bukayo Saka that earned the victory in the West Midlands. That win before the international break meant Arsenal had won six of their last seven Premier League games. Only a 2-0 defeat to title-chasing Liverpool was a blot on their copybook in that spell.
Aston Villa have already proven this season that they aren’t pushovers, especially since Steven Gerrard’s arrival. Money was spent to bolster their squad in January and Arsenal were made to work hard for the three points. The celebrations at the end of the game in the West Midlands showed what it meant to the players, as it helped keep the chasing pack at bay for the moment.
Consistency Key For The Gunners
After the game at Villa Park, boss Mikel Arteta spoke of the importance of consistency playing both home and away. It’s something the Gunners have been able to achieve during significant spells this season and it is why they find themselves back in contention for a top-four finish. It has been a season that has had some upheaval at times, especially following the departure of skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the January transfer window.
Despite what has happened in the squad, Arteta has been a steadying influence and has helped guide the north London outfit into a strong position. A return of those Champions League nights at the Emirates is what all Arsenal supporters want to see. With the character being shown in the first few months of 2022, it bodes well for the most crucial part of the campaign to come.
Photo by Unsplash