Emiliano Martinez delivered a dagger to the heart of troubled Arsenal last night – as the Argentine revealed he regarded his summer switch to Aston Villa as an UPWARDS move!
The Gunners goalkeeper moved to Villa Park in a £17 million deal in September after getting fed up with waiting for regular football in eight years at the Emirates – and has kept five clean sheets in seven games as his new team have risen to sixth in the Premier League.
But what will hurt Arsenal the most is that the latest clean sheet came on Sunday as Villa arrived at the Emirates and tore a limp Gunners apart in a comprehensive 3-0 win that could have been worse.
Many expressed surprise when it was revealed that he had opted to move to Villa, after Mikel Arteta opted for Bernd Leno as his no1 this season.
But Martinez said: “People do not realise how big Aston Villa are. They were saying it was a step down. I always said it was a step up.
“I knew the club’s and the manager’s ambitions. I trusted those ambitions – and I knew how big Villa are.”
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Martinez, who joined the Gunners in 2010 from Independiente, had a run of games at the end of last season and helped the Gunners win the FA Cup and Community Shield.
But then Arteta made it clear that Leno would be his first choice this season.
The Argentine said: “Villa called me from day one after the FA Cup final win against Chelsea. I just wanted to play first-team football. Arsenal could not guarantee me that.
“They would not say I was going to play in the first game of the season against Fulham so when I had that doubt I had to leave. Villa were the first option and the only one.
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“Arteta said it in a meeting. I was talking to him in front of a team-mate. I told him I wanted to play week in, week out – and he couldn’t guarantee who was going to start.
“Even before the Community Shield he didn’t know who was going to play in goal.
“After ten years I didn’t want to wait until Friday night to know. So I texted him to say I was going to Villa – please help me and let me go.
“He was very honest and open. He helped me. I am grateful for that and pleased about how well he is doing.”
Villa are now sixth in the table, and Martinez said: “We always say how good a young team we are. We’ve got so much talent. My ambition is to be in Europe with Villa.”
Gunners midfielder Thomas Partey, taken off at half time against Villa with a thigh problem, will stay with the club during the international break for treatment and not join up with Ghana.
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