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In the Premier League, Arsenal cemented their position in fourth place with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park. Hoping to return to victory after losing to Liverpool midweek – their first loss in seven games in all competitions – fourth-placed Arsenal dominated the first period under the sun at Villa Park. Bukayo Saka’s goal beat Aston Villa 1-0 to sit fourth in the Premier League with a four-point lead at the end of a five-year Champions League exile.

Arsenal’s amazing, smooth first-half football deserved more than Bukayo Sakas’ first-half goal. Steven Gerrard said the improvement was a reward for Arsenal attacking Mikel Arteta. This season, Arsenal has improved significantly under Mikel Arteta, but the 39-year-old Spaniard has come under intense pressure after Arsenal started this season with three league defeats in a row.

The gap between Arsenal and those above them again seemed significant during an unfortunate first half when they could not get a shot on or off the goal. In the meantime, Arsenal tried to take the edge out of the game and keep possession of the ball in midfield. Arsenal was told to keep up the pressure, and Arsenal was quickly out of the traps again. Although Arsenal didn’t create many clear chances, at half-time, they felt Gunners deserved the lead that Bukayo Saka gave us in half an hour.

Arsenal was tired after the break, which allowed Aston Villa to control the game better. Still, Arsenal prevented the hosts from shooting at the goal until the last minute of the recovery when Bernd Leno saved a free-kick from Philippe Coutinho. Aston Villa threw everything forward to equalise, but Arsenal remained steadfast as Bernd Leno deflected a Philippe Coutinho free-kick in the second stoppage. Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead in the first half when a quick free-kick took Aston Villa by surprise, and Sakas’ kick from the edge of the penalty area swept through the crowd to beat Emiliano Martínez.

Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka caught the ball, which the defenders of Aston Villa weakly blocked. In the 30th minute, he delivered the first low back shot to the blind goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from the edge of the penalty area. Somehow in the game, Villa began to threaten after the break, with a shot from midfielder John McGinn causing some jitteriness in Arsenal’s defenders. At the same time, Ollie Watkins saw another blow cut the outside of the pole and take him aside.

Arteta looks confident in finishing at the fourth position with his team performing well on the field and the youngsters giving their best. Arsenal is now in the fourth spot with 54 points, three points ahead of their rivals Spurs (Arsenal has a game in hand); it looks like Arsenal will finish in the Champions League position as their remaining games are comparatively easy.