Pundit slates Arsenal transfer decision in glowing praise for Aston Villa

Date published: Tuesday 9th February 2021 8:15 - Neil Foster

Emiliano Martinez TEAMtalk

Former England striker Peter Crouch has praised Aston Villa’s defence and questioned why Arsenal allowed goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to move to Villa Park.

Villa beat Arsenal 1-0 on Saturday, with Martinez keeping his 11th clean sheet of the season. The result left Dean Smith’s men ninth in the Premier League standings and four points better off than the Gunners.

They have two games in hand over the north Londoners and are eyeing a decent top-flight finish in 2020-2021. Much of the side’s success has been built around a solid rearguard.

They have conceded just 24 league goals while finding the net on 36 occasions. And Crouch, who scored six league goals from 37 outings while at Villa, likes what he sees.

“What impressed me was how solid they looked,” he told Mail Sport. “I’m impressed by Ezri Konsa, who is blossoming into one of the finest young central defenders in the division.

Tyrone Mings continues to improve and they were given fantastic protection by John McGinn and Douglas Luiz.”

Villa are next in action when they travel to the Amex Stadium to take on Brighton on Saturday. Both sides are enjoying a decent patch of form and it has the makings of a tough encounter.

Martinez move questioned

Argentine Martinez left the Emirates to move to Villa on September 20 last year. He had been with the north Londoners since 2010, coming up through the club’s youth system.

However, the 28-year-old barely featured for the first team and was loaned to many clubs. He spent time with Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves, Getafe and Reading.

The South American did see more action in 2019-2020, with 23 appearances in all competitions. However, Mikel Arteta opted to hand Germany international Bernd Leno the shirt, prompting Martinez’s exit.

Mikel Arteta TEAMtalk

It seems like it was an inspired move for the player and Crouch believes there was only one loser.

“The signing of Emi Martinez, meanwhile, has been critical,” added the 40-year-old. “I couldn’t understand why Arsenal sold him and I was even more confused by that decision on Saturday.

“He was in possession of the jersey, he had won the FA Cup, so why let him go? Also, are any of Arsenal’s keepers better than him? I’d say no.”

Villa have done the double over Arsenal this term, leaving the custodian with all the bragging rights over his former club.

 

READ MORE: Villa set to reward star duo with big-money deals

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