Villa back in top four & ‘clinical’ Watkins in best form since Yorke

17 February 2024 0 By Total Football News

Ollie Watkins celebrates his goal for Aston VillaAston Villa have scored 52 Premier League goals this campaign, already more than they scored in total last season (51).

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery called Ollie Watkins “clinical” and “amazing” after the Villa striker scored twice at Fulham to help his side return to the Premier League’s top four.

Jacob Ramsey pinched the ball off Willian after a poor throw-in from Antonee Robinson and set up Watkins who slotted Villa into a 23rd-minute lead.

And the England forward deservedly doubled his tally when he buried Youri Tielemans’ through-ball just after the restart.

The hosts were gifted a way back into the match as Rodrigo Muniz capitalised on a mix-up between Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez and defender Clement Lenglet.

Martinez was then called into two fine saves in second-half injury time, but Emery’s side held on. They now sit fourth in the table after rivals Tottenham were beaten 2-1 by Wolves on Saturday.

“He [Watkins] worked for it,” Emery told BBC Match of the Day. “It was a very tough match for him as well and he was fighting with [Fulham defender] Issa Diop.

“He was clinical today and really amazing.”

Watkins stars as Villa produce ‘massive reaction’

Watkins was superb at Craven Cottage and has now scored 18 goals in all competitions this season, while his statistics speak for themselves.

His 23 goal involvements in the top flight this season (13 goals and 10 assists in 25 games), is only bettered by Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (24).

And in terms of goal involvements for Villa, only Dwight Yorke (27 in 1995-96) can boast more in a single Premier League campaign.

His latest performance also ends a comparatively dry run where he managed just two goals in 10 matches before Saturday, having missed a number of chances in Villa’s narrow defeat to Manchester United last time out.

“Personally I’m not dwelling on that and as a team we’re not,” Watkins told BBC Match of the Day.

“It’s nice to get back on the scoresheet. It was a massive reaction to come here and win today.”

Two points clear as form begins to turn

It is no secret that Aston Villa have not had the start to 2024 the club would have wanted.

After missing out on a chance to go top of the Premier League on Boxing Day, Villa have lost four of their past 10 matches in all competitions, and had slipped down to fifth in the league table.

The visitors started brightly with Tielemans, in for the injured Boubacar Kamara, setting up Watkins, only for his goal to be ruled offside in the first two minutes.

After the forward’s opener, Leon Bailey struck the crossbar with a curling effort and Tielemans was denied by Fulham keeper Bernd Leno when through on goal.

Alex Moreno also had a first-half headed finish ruled out for a tight offside, timing his run a fraction too early to meet Watkins’ flick on.

“It’s a very important win,” Emery added to BBC Match of the Day. “We are trying to push and be successful. Today was a match to show it, and they showed it.”

Villa, now two points clear of Tottenham in fifth, face Nottingham Forest at home in their next match next Saturday.

Muniz impresses but ‘sloppy’ Fulham fall just short

Fulham were the creators of their own downfall at Craven Cottage, with manager Marco Silva admitting his side were far “too sloppy” in periods.

Robinson’s loose throw-in set up Villa’s first, and poor defending enabled their second.

“We were punished by the mistakes we made,” Silva told BBC Match of the Day.

“We cannot concede goals the way we did it. We were too sloppy, we were too open in those moments.”

Minutes before the opener, Tim Ream had a goal disallowed for offside when he rounded the keeper after Joao Palhinha’s flick-on.

Muniz, who scored his fourth goal in three games, looked dangerous from crosses into the box and halved the deficit in the 63rd minute after Martinez and Lenglet hesitated following a low Robinson cross.

Buoyed by that strike, Fulham pushed for an equaliser with Harry Wilson volleying wide and Alex Iwobi, back from Africa Cup of Nations action, having a shot saved by the feet of Martinez.

And the Argentine goalkeeper made up for his earlier error, brilliantly racing off his line to deny former Villa forward Adama Traore in injury time.

Fulham, who are away to Manchester United in their next match, will be without Palhinha, who will now serve a two-match ban after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season.

Player of the match

WatkinsOllie Watkins

with an average of 8.38

Fulham

  1. Squad number8Player nameWilson

    Average rating

    5.38

  2. Squad number17Player nameLeno

    Average rating

    5.26

  3. Squad number19Player nameRodrigo Muniz

    Average rating

    5.21

  4. Squad number21Player nameCastagne

    Average rating

    5.15

  5. Squad number22Player nameIwobi

    Average rating

    5.13

  6. Squad number20Player nameWillian

    Average rating

    5.05

  7. Squad number26Player nameJoão Palhinha

    Average rating

    5.04

  8. Squad number10Player nameCairney

    Average rating

    5.03

  9. Squad number13Player nameReam

    Average rating

    5.02

  10. Squad number18Player nameAndreas Pereira

    Average rating

    5.01

  11. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid

    Average rating

    5.00

  12. Squad number33Player nameRobinson

    Average rating

    4.96

  13. Squad number3Player nameBassey

    Average rating

    4.85

  14. Squad number31Player nameDiop

    Average rating

    4.82

  15. Squad number11Player nameTraoré

    Average rating

    4.58

  16. Squad number28Player nameLukic

    Average rating

    4.34

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

    Average rating

    8.38

  2. Squad number14Player nameP Torres

    Average rating

    7.80

  3. Squad number31Player nameBailey

    Average rating

    7.73

  4. Squad number1Player nameE Martínez

    Average rating

    7.64

  5. Squad number15Player nameÁlex Moreno

    Average rating

    7.56

  6. Squad number2Player nameCash

    Average rating

    7.52

  7. Squad number8Player nameTielemans

    Average rating

    7.51

  8. Squad number47Player nameIroegbunam

    Average rating

    7.50

  9. Squad number19Player nameDiaby

    Average rating

    7.38

  10. Squad number17Player nameLenglet

    Average rating

    7.32

  11. Squad number12Player nameDigne

    Average rating

    7.28

  12. Squad number41Player nameJ Ramsey

    Average rating

    7.27

  13. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

    Average rating

    6.62

  14. Squad number6Player nameDouglas Luiz

    Average rating

    5.55

Line-ups

Fulham

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 17Leno
  • 21CastagneBooked at 89mins
  • 31Diop
  • 13ReamSubstituted forBasseyat 76′minutes
  • 33Robinson
  • 26João PalhinhaBooked at 86minsSubstituted forLukicat 89′minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 10Cairney
  • 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forWilsonat 64′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 18PereiraSubstituted forTraoréat 75′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 20WillianSubstituted forIwobiat 45′minutes
  • 19Muniz Carvalho

Substitutes

  • 1Rodák
  • 3Bassey
  • 4Tosin
  • 6Reed
  • 8Wilson
  • 11Traoré
  • 12Ballo-Touré
  • 22Iwobi
  • 28Lukic

Aston Villa

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1E Martínez
  • 2Cash
  • 17Lenglet
  • 14P Torres
  • 15MorenoBooked at 74minsSubstituted forDigneat 81′minutes
  • 31BaileySubstituted forDiabyat 81′minutes
  • 7McGinnBooked at 32mins
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 41J Ramsey
  • 8TielemansSubstituted forIroegbunamat 90+4′minutes
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 12data-reactid=".1me7cbprd0i.0.0.0.1.$include-39.0.0.1:$panel-0.$0.0.0.1.5.$0PO101188.1">Digne
  • 16Chambers
  • 18Gauci
  • 19Diaby
  • 22Zaniolo
  • 25Olsen
  • 27Rogers
  • 29Kesler-Hayden
  • 47Iroegbunam
Referee:
Lewis Smith
Attendance:
24,401

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Fulham 1, Aston Villa 2.

Second Half ends, Fulham 1, Aston Villa 2.