By Pete Hanson

20th Oct, 2023 | 4:10pm

Unai Emery has Ollie Watkins concern at Aston Villa as awful 12.5% stat emerges

Ollie Watkins is a leading light in an Aston Villa side now brimming with talented under Unai Emery.

Such is his importance to the club, the England striker signed a new deal at Villa Park until 2028 on October 6 (BBC Sport) having scored 15 goals last season as the club secured Europa Conference League football.

Watkins has four goals in eight league games this time around, albeit that stat is skewed a little by the fact three of those came in a 6-1 rout on Brighton.

Indeed, while it is inarguable that Watkins has to be one of the first names of the team sheet under Emery, there was a stat revealed by the Athletic on Friday (20 October) that will give Emery and Villa supporters cause for concern.

The online publication produced a tweet displaying a graphic showing Premier League players with the most big chances in the Premier League this season, how many of those they’ve missed, and their conversion rate.

Unsurprisingly, Manchester City ace Erling Haaland had the most big chances with 15 but what is surprising is he has missed the most with nine, giving him a conversion rate of 40%.

What did particularly stand out was Watkins’ awful conversion rate. He has been presented with eight big chances so far, and incredibly only converted one of them for a conversion rate of only 12.5%.

Of course, looking at just one aspect would be foolhardy. For instance, in stats provided by Footmob, Watkins has the most goals (4) and assists (4) for Villa this season.

He has the most shots on target per 90 (1.3) and shots per 90 (3.3) among Villa players, while only Moussa Diaby (5) has created more big chances than Watkins (3), and he sits top of the chances created charts for Villa players (16).

So, realistically there is no major fear. But that conversion rate of big chances is something that Emery, and Watkins himself, will want to see improved in the coming weeks.

In other Aston Villa news, here is a look at the predicted XI to face West Ham this weekend.