- 20 hours ago
Ollie Watkins: Can Aston Villa striker keep up fine start?
Ollie Watkins extended his fine start to life at Aston Villa as he scored twice in a 3-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday.
The 24-year-old netted the fifth and sixth goals of a Premier League career that began with a £28m move from Brentford this summer as Mikel Arteta’s side were put to the sword at the Emirates Stadium.
Watkins’ brace against the club he supported as a child marked the latest milestone in a debut top-flight season that has also featured a perfect hat-trick against champions Liverpool.
And, fortunately for Villa, the early signs are that the forward’s form is no fluke.
Watkins boasts an average of 0.71 non-penalty goals per 90 minutes in the Premier League so far this season, a record bettered only by Patrick Bamford (0.94), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (1.03) and Son Heung-min (1.12).
The Englishman’s strong goal return owes much to a shot conversion rate of 33%, which again sees him ranked fourth best in the division.
An average of 2.6 shots per game also places the former Exeter City forward among the league’s elite, while a shot accuracy percentage of 50 is one of the highest in the Premier League.
And Watkins is also proving himself to be a capable link man up top, averaging 12.9 final third passes in each game.
These numbers suggest that Watkins’ start has not only been fully deserved but is also entirely sustainable in the long term.
And that is good news for Villa boss Dean Smith, whose fears of another relegation battle this term will have already been eased by the form of his biggest summer signing.