Leno has the easiest return, Saka is the star again and even Cedric has a blinder

ARSENAL’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa might be the most convincing result – but the gulf between the two teams was huge.

The Gunners dominated possession, looked a constant threat up front and defended firmly when needed.

Bukayo Saka gets the congratulations for his winning goal


Bukayo Saka gets the congratulations for his winning goalPhoto credit: Reuters

Mikel Arteta is clearly building something this season – and with a few quality additions in the summer, the Gunners could well return to the Premier League title mix.

Bukayo Saka was the match winner with a beautifully struck goal that saw his former teammate Emi Martinez unseen in the Villa goal.

The win puts Arsenal four points clear of Manchester United and in a crucial fourth place.

Here, SunSport’s John Hutchinson reveals how the Gunners stars fared at Villa Park.

Arsenal in double injury hit with Ramsdale and Martinelli OUT of Villa
Saka scores again as Gunner's top 4 hopes earn a comfortable win

Bernd Leno – 8

Could be one of his last games for the club where the German is firmly No. 2 behind Aaron Ramsdale.

Nothing could be done in the first 45. Then the hero went to his death with a brilliant save by Coutinho. Proved a point.

Cedric Soares – 8

Playing his seventh game in a row – not bad for a player who fans would expect to be a substitute and nothing more.

But maybe Cedric is starting to show that he deserves a chance – at least until fan-favorite Tomiyasu is back.


Benjamin White – 7

Undeterred in the first half as Villa failed to ignite up front.

I would like to have such easy days in the office until the end of the season.

Gabriel – 8

The bedrock of Arsenal’s defense and with White now his regular partner he’s starting to look even more confident.

Never go wrong against a lethargic Villa attack team.

Emile Smith Rowe put in another fine performance for Arsenal


Emile Smith Rowe put in another fine performance for ArsenalCredit: PA

Kieran Tierney – 7th

He probably could have swung the ball quicker in the first 45 but otherwise there isn’t much to criticize about the left-back’s performance.

Martin Odegaard – 7

He’s quickly becoming a fan favorite and forms part of a handsome, attacking midfield.

Thomas Partey – 7

Seemingly he’s had more leeway to roam up front in the last couple of games and saw a strong effort from Martinez after just 15 minutes which he held well

Granite Xhaka – 7

Gets the work done that needs to be done rather than his teammates going forward.

Bukayo-Saka – 8th

One of the Premier League’s greatest talents, Saka has added goals to his tricks, including a beautiful finish for the opener

Alexandre Lacazette – 6

Lacazette, now viewed as a “crafty” striker, has been swan-song admired by Gunners fans for his efforts, if not his goals, during his season.

Should have put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute but somehow missed the goal after being put down by Smith Rowe.

Emile Smith Rowe – 9

Arsenal’s top scorer has finally been included in the starting XI after suffering injury to Gabriel Martinelli.


Nicolas Pepe (for Saka, 69) – 6th

Pepe may be a winger but he has clearly been told to do his bit to defend the lead.

And did it well enough.

Eddie Nketiah (for Lacazette, 78) – 6th

Like the man he replaced in the swan song of his Arsenal career.

Buzzed around but nothing special.

Rob Holding (for Odegaard, 85) – N/A

Spare (not used): Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Mo Elneny, Arthur Okonkwo, Zak Swanson, Omari Hutchinson. Leno has the easiest return, Saka is the star again and even Cedric has a blinder


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