Unai Emery magnifies Aston Villa's unexpected hero vs Chelsea

AFP via Getty Images
Aston Villa had an unexpected hero in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Unai Emery has hailed Aston Villa goalkeeper Robin Olsen for his ‘fantastic’ performance in the 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Saturday evening.

The backup glovesman was called into action for the second half as Emiliano Martinez couldn’t continue, suspected to be because of a hamstring problem. Although two goals were conceded during his time on the field, Olsen put on a respectable display.

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One save was particularly impressive as he saved a teammate’s bacon with a point-blank range stop to deny Cole Palmer. Central defender Diego Carlos failed to anticipate a long pass as it dropped out of the sky, letting the ball bounce for Palmer to control and dribble one-on-one with Olsen.

Emery was impressed with that moment but also the general play of Villa’s number 25. The head coach values his squad players just as much as his first-teamers, emphasising the significance of togetherness in achieving group success.

“Emiliano Martinez is very important, it’s clear he’s saved us a lot but we believe in the players they are on the bench ready to play and each one with his characteristics, his quality,” Emery said during Saturday’s post-match press conference.

“Robin, he helped us and saved us in the minute 90 man-to-man with Palmer. He was really fantastic as he helped us a lot today. A lot,” Emery continued, emphatically.

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Olsen’s showing was by no means faultless as the Sweden international displayed shaky distribution, but he certainly proved several doubters wrong. The goals weren’t his fault, either, as Noni Madueke and Conor Gallagher took advantage of defensive errors with ruthless strikes into the far corner.

Olsen made a terrific save to deny Chelsea top scorer Palmer one-on-one.Olsen made a terrific save to deny Chelsea top scorer Palmer one-on-one.
Olsen made a terrific save to deny Chelsea top scorer Palmer one-on-one. | Getty Images

Regardless of whether Martinez is missing for an extended period, Olsen must step up to the plate again soon as Villa’s number one is suspended for the next outing, against Olympiacos on Thursday.

The pressure will be on for the UEFA Europa Conference League semi-final first leg but Villa Park is bound to get behind the man they address as “the world’s number two”.

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