If Arsenal had been bruised by a recent spell of wayward form in the Premier League, they came back fighting and with a new-found resolve with a scintillating 4-2 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park this afternoon.
The Gunners have been imperious this season under Mikel Arteta and have led the way in the top flight for much of the campaign so far.
However, their progress was hindered when title rivals and current champions Manchester City defeated them 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium in midweek to reclaim top spot.
Arsenal had to dig through adversity today, falling behind twice in the first half after two excellently-taken Villa goals, but a dogged fightback capped by two stoppage time goals got the Gunners back to winning ways and back on top of the table.
How did Bukayo Saka play vs Aston Villa?
Jorginho, who signed for £12m from London rivals Chelsea at the end of January to bolster Arsenal’s midfield options, may steal the limelight after his emphatic thumping effort ricocheted off the bar and deflected in off the hapless Emi Martinez to give the Gunners a stoppage time lead.
While the collective effort of the unrelenting visitors embodied the quintessence of a title-winning team, it was the marvellous Bukayo Saka who pulled the strings once again, orchestrating a crucial victory.
As per Sofascore, the 21-year-old recorded a match rating of 7.3, scoring his team’s first goal and proving to be an incessant thorn in Villa’ side, having six shots in total, two of which were on target.
On top of that, Saka was in the thick of the action with 85 touches taken, 11 duels won and possession lost 34 times. That last figure might seem careless, but it shows that the 24-cap England star was constantly looking to instigate forward transitions, splitting the play with ten attempted crosses on a very busy afternoon.
Also making four tackles, the robust and all-encompassing nature of the 21-year-old’s work is just a further layer to the multi-dimensional skill set has left the precocious youth valued at £98m by CIES Football Observatory.
Arsenal are “blessed” to have such a blistering talent within their ranks, according to statistical expert OptaJoe, who tweeted that Saka has now been involved in 17 Premier League goals this season, behind only Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.
As such, those affiliated with Arsenal would be more than justified in waxing lyrical about the Englishman, and his extraordinary efforts both in and out of possession today made him a rock for Arteta on a day when his team very much needed it after their recent wobble.
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