By Peter Lynch

5th Apr, 2023 | 7:50pm

Sergio Aguero stat sees Ollie Watkins mix it with very best in Premier League at Aston Villa

Ollie Watkins continues to thrive under Unai Emery at Aston Villa, with the striker bagging his 11th Premier League goal of the season in the 2-1 win over Leicester on Tuesday (4 April).

His well-taken goal in the 24th minute typified his strength and composure on the ball as he held off the home defence while he ran through on goal, not to mention the superb finish past Foxes goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

The striker should, however, have eased the pressure on his defensive teammates by adding to his tally on the King Power, with Villa only just grabbing all three points courtesy of a late strike from Bertrand Traore.

Watkins could have easily netted a hat-trick, but manager Emery will not be too disappointed as the striker’s solo goal helped the club climb into seventh place in the Premier League table.

It has been a remarkable turnaround under the Spaniard, and Watkins’s form has been key to his success in the dugout.

The Aston Villa striker has now scored in six consecutive away Premier League matches, becoming the first player to achieve that feat since Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero between March and August in 2017, according to OptaJoe.

In a remarkable run, the forward now has eight goals from his last 10 matches, as well as chipping in with one assist. Only Tottenham hero Harry Kane (nine) has found the net more often than Watkins (eight) in 2023, according to WhoScored.

Moreover, Watkins not only boasts a stunning record in recent times, but also boasts a superb conversion rate in 2023. Of the 30 players to have taken 20 or more shots in the Premier League this year, none have a better conversion rate than the Villa ace (25%).

Watkins has certainly repaid the faith shown in him by Emery, who has revealed that he spoke with his striker upon his appointment as manager in order to see how they can get the best out of the Villa star.

“I like to take challenges, always, with my striker, with my coaching,” said Emery, as quoted by LiveScore. “Because I like to be offensive and to be a winner.

“The striker is very important to me. I spoke with [Watkins] at the beginning about the relationship here. I told him that, ‘I want the best of you.’ This is the way.”

That talk has certainly worked wonders, with Villa rapidly driving their way towards the European places thanks to Emery and the goals of Watkins.

In other Aston Villa news, the club may have a new midfield general for years to come in academy ace ​​Todd Alcock.