Aston Villa star Emiliano Martinez labelled top-four standard by Garth Crooks

Emiliano Martinez

Aston Villa had Emiliano Martinez to thank in their 0-0 draw with Brighton & Hove Albion last weekend. 

The Argentine stopper kept his 12th clean sheet of what has been an exceptional and somewhat surprising maiden campaign thus far. 

Only Manchester City's Ederson (14) has kept more clean sheets than Martinez and he remains firmly in the hunt for the Golden Glove award. 

His latest display against the Seagulls featured a string of fine saves and reaffirmed his status as one of the division's best 'keepers. 

And the standout display has received recognition from BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks, who named the 28-year-old in his team of the week.

While the verdict largely revolved around Martinez's influential display, Crooks also suggested that he may need to leave Villa Park to realise the full extent of his potential. 

'The save from Leandro Trossard in the early exchanges of this match against Brighton gave some indication of the sort of form Martinez is in at the moment. My particular favourite was the save from Dan Burn, whose header looked a certain goal had it not been for Martinez's athleticism.'

'Joel Veltman was the next to be denied, followed by an extraordinary save from an exquisite Danny Welbeck flick at the near post that caught everyone by surprise apart from Martinez. The Argentine is looking every bit a top-four keeper and if he can't achieve it with Villa I suggest he does it with someone else.'

GIVEMESPORT's Jack Saville says...

There is a certain irony to Martinez's development this season, one that Crooks has flirted with in his analysis. 

Martinez was signed from Arsenal, a club who, historically speaking, are regular contenders for the top four and silverware. 

The Gunners have faltered in recent seasons and failed to finish inside the top-four since the 2015/16 season. 

Despite that trend and the fact Arsenal are two points adrift of Villa having played two games more, the north London outfit's future prospects of qualifying for the Champions League are the stronger of the two clubs. 

However, it speaks to the extent of Martinez's impact that his current side are in a stronger position to qualify for Europe, and his eye-catching form has certainly evoked some poignant feelings at the Emirates Stadium during the course of the season. 

Martinez is certainly Champions League standard on current form, and Villa's £17m summer deal is proving to be an astute piece of business from the Midland's outfit. 

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