Tony Cascarino believes that goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is the man holding Aston Villa’s backline together and that he’s given the defenders ahead of him such a lift.
Villa signed Martinez in the recent transfer window for £17million (BBC) from Arsenal, as he ended his eight-year stay in North London by winning the FA Cup last season and the Community Shield in August.
The 28-year-old only stepped into the Arsenal XI last season following an injury to Bernd Leno and produced some outstanding performances, which made some fans question whether he should become the new number one at the Emirates Stadium.
He is an Argentine that commands his penalty box so well with his height and handing, plus he’s proven to be a great shot-stopper.
Martinez has started extremely quickly at Villa Park, keeping three clean sheets in his opening four appearances for them.
Cascarino has been discussing the importance of the summer signing on Villa:
“He was excellent for Arsenal at the end of last season and Villa were the one club brave enough to go after him. He looks calm and collected, holds things together and it makes such a difference to the team when you have a goalkeeper and a back four who trust each other,” Cascarino told the Times.
A new-look Villa XI are the only team in the Premier League with a 100 per cent record still and they have looked extremely impressive with four wins from four.
It’s understandable that everyone will look towards the attack of Dean Smith’s side which consists the likes of Ollie Watkins, Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley, especially after their memorable 7-2 hammering of reigning league champions.
But it’s the defensive side of their game that has improved drastically to see them flying high in second right now and the biggest change is Martinez.
His £17million signature looks an inspired deal right now that has Villa supporters dreaming of a European challenge this season and with him in goal they have one of the most in-form goalkeepers around.