Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has had a sensational season at Villa Park, with his goals helping fire the Villans to a seventh-place finish. With Europe to come next season, can Watkins build on a superb 2022-23 campaign?
Can Villa Push for the Top Four Next Term?
Now the dust has settled on another incredible Premier League campaign, we are already looking ahead to next season. The title race will be fascinating, the relegation battle might go to the wire again, and the battle for European places could be more open than ever. Looking at today’s football betting odds for next season’s Premier League, Unai Emery’s men are priced at 10/1 to finish in the top four.
Villa will have their work cut out, as Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are looking to bounce back from disappointing seasons. Manchester City are the title favourites, while Arsenal and Manchester United are hoping to build on excellent seasons. Still, Villa are more than capable of putting themselves in the mix under Emery.
Great Season for Watkins, Emery & Villa
Aston Villa had a difficult start to their 2022-23 Premier League campaign. They picked up just one win from their opening six matches, losing four times along the way. Steven Gerrard was sacked in October after an embarrassing defeat to Fulham.
After a 4-0 win and 4-0 defeat under caretaker manager Aaron Danks, Unai Emery officially took over in November. Villa beat Manchester United 3-1 at home in Emery’s first match in charge and never looked back. After the 2022 FIFA World Cup break, Villa kicked on, securing wins over Tottenham, Leeds United and Southampton.
Villa went on a staggering run of form from February to April, winning eight and drawing two of ten Premier League matches. They were knocking on the door of the UEFA Champions League spots, but back-to-back defeats to Man United and Wolverhampton Wanderers put paid to those slim hopes.
The Midlands club ended the season with seven points from a possible nine. They finished seventh and qualified for next season’s UEFA Europa Conference League. Emery has a great European record as a manager, and Villa will relish the chance to strut their stuff on the European stage once again.
Unai Emery took Aston Villa from relegation bound to Europe ? pic.twitter.com/5iuIEBgR1M
— GOAL (@goal) May 28, 2023
Watkins played a pivotal role in the heart of Villa’s attack this season. It was his most prolific campaign in a Villa shirt, as he scored 15 Premier League goals and provided six assists. Watkins was not called up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the 2022 World Cup, but his form in the second half of the season was sensational.
37 games. 15 goals. 6 assists. ?
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) May 30, 2023
Watkins scored five goals in five games in January and February and netted a staggering 11 goals in 12 Premier League appearances. He also found the target in Villa’s 2-1 home victory over Brighton & Hove Albion on the final day of the Premier League season.
The fixture list could be packed if they get through the Europa Conference League qualifiers, and Watkins will no doubt be a vital cog in Villa’s machine next term.
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