EPL

Champions League the goal for Arsenal, but we must stay humble – Saka

By Sports Desk March 19, 2022

Bukayo Saka insists Arsenal must "stay humble" despite strengthening their Champions League qualifying hopes with victory over Aston Villa.

The England international netted the only goal – the Gunners' 2,000th in the Premier League – as the visitors consolidated their top-four status, moving four points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

Mikel Arteta's side have now recorded five successive away wins in the Premier League for the first time since May 2015, while registering a 13th clean sheet of the campaign – their highest number since 2015-16 (18).

Saka maintained his impressive form on the road, having now been involved in six goals in his last five league appearances away from Emirates Stadium, scoring five and assisting one.

The 20-year-old hailed his team-mates' defensive efforts as they saw out another important win, while urging them to continue to strive for their goals.

"To win today was big. To get the result and three points makes us really happy," Saka told BT Sport. "We started very well. The early goal helped us get into the game, but we need to start finishing games to prevent things from getting too nervy.

"The goal set us up; we created a few chances before and after, but that goal put us in the driving seat.

"The Champions League is the goal, but we've got to stay humble."

Arsenal last appeared in the Champions League in the 2016-17 season, so to return would be a sign the club are moving in a positive direction.

Manager Arteta is taking many plaudits and praised the players who recorded Arsenal's 13th Premier League away win over Villa – the joint-most they have registered over any side in the competition, matching their total against West Ham.

"We talked before the match about the need to be sharp and physical. We controlled the game," Arteta told BT Sport.

"We could have scored more and that is where we have to take the team. We have to put chances away; in the Premier League, you cannot dominate 96 minutes, this is impossible, but I'm really pleased with how we competed in every phase of the play. I'm really proud of the boys.

"They are showing character, courage and quality. You can see the connection they have. It is phenomenal to watch.

"If you want to be a top team, you have to win home and away. We are doing that consistently, and we have to continue. We really want [the top four] and we are going to give it a go."

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