Dean Smith said that clean sheets have been pivotal to Aston Villa’s success on the road this season after they shut out Arsenal in a 3-0 win.
Villa went into the game on the back of successive defeats, but Ollie Watkins scored a brace to follow up Bukayo Saka’s own goal and return them to winning ways.
Having already thrashed league champions Liverpool this season, Villa claimed another impressive scalp by defeating an Arsenal side that has won two trophies in 2020.
It moves them just three points off top, and with a game in hand.
After the game, Smith explained how Villa went about disrupting an Arsenal team that normally thrives in possession under Mikel Arteta.
“It’s a really pleasing performance,” Smith told Sky Sports. “Lots of facets to it.
“It was a good defensive shift from the whole team. We caused them problems with some of our counter attacking.
“We didn’t want them to have a nice easy game where they could pass it where they wanted. They’re a good team.”
Villa have now won more away games in the league this season than they did in the entirety of the previous campaign. They have won all three of their games on the road without conceding a single goal.
Smith confirmed how happy he is with their improvements on their travels.
“A lot better than last season,” he said.
“We couldn’t keep a clean sheet last season. We’ve kept three from three this time.”
‘More to come’ from Villa
At the other end, Villa have a dangerous attack, with Watkins now on six goals from his first seven Premier League appearances. The likes of Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Ross Barkley also add to their attacking threat.
Smith added that as impressed as he has been with his attack, they are still capable of more.
“We’re a threat with them in the team,” he added. “Really pleasing.
“They’re all blossoming really well but there’s more to come from them.”
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