Unai Emery names six changes as Ollie Watkins decision made - Aston Villa confirmed XI v Wolves
Aston Villa have confirmed their starting XI to take on Wolves at Molineux in the Premier League on Sunday (8 October).
As confirmed by the club on X, Unai Emery has made six changes to the side that secured a late Europa Conference League victory over Zrinjski, with Pau Torres, Boubacar Kamara, Matty Cash, Douglas Luiz, Moussa Diaby and Ollie Watkins coming back into the fold at the expense of Clement Lenglet, Leon Bailey, Leander Dendoncker, Youri Tielemans, Jhon Duran and Nicolo Zaniolo.
Having missed out on a starting spot in Europe, Watkins returns to the fray off the back of a new Villa contract which will see him stay at the club until 2028.
While Emery will opt to make significant changes to his sides for the European clashes, their slow start to the campaign on the continent could have seen their best striker earn a start for the Villans.
However, the Englishman was relegated to just a second-half appearance, but will be eager to add to his four goals and three assists in the Premier League season against Wolves.
Per SofaScore, Watkins earned 89 per cent pass accuracy (8/9) against Zrinjski and was frequently in the opposition box when coming on after the break. While Villa struggled to break them down across the 90, relying on a 94th-minute John McGinn goal to get three points, Watkins’ influence was noticeable.
Emery will rely on his goalscorer to help his side build further momentum in the Premier League. The Villans have had a perfect domestic record in the last three games, scoring 10 goals across these fixtures to reach 5th in the table.
Elsewhere, Wolves snatched three impressive points from title-holders Manchester City in their last clash in their second win of the season. Gary O’Neil’s side will not be favourites for this home clash but will hope his team are at least nearly as strong as they were against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Emery will not have to rely on Watkins to get the goals at Molineux as the whole side have pitched in this season. However, as the club’s most prolific and impactful body in the forward line, he could prove vital. Per FBRef, Watkins has the most shot-creating actions of the whole Villa side (29), showing his influence.
Based on their current position, Villa will want to be challenging to break into the Champions League spots and to do that they must win fixtures like this.
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