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Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins was off-colour in defeat to Arsenal

Aston Villa fell to to a second consecutive Premier League defeat this afternoon as Arsenal beat them 1-0 at Villa Park in the lunchtime kick-off.

Bukayo Saka’s goal on the half-hour mark was enough to separate the two sides, whilst Villa defender Tyrone Mings was on the wrong end of a controversial decision, with some suggestions that he could have been sent off for a tackle on the goalscorer.

Steven Gerrard’s side remain ninth in the league, with numerous top-flight matches postponed due to the FA Cup quarter-finals taking place this weekend.

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Who did Aston Villa beat in their 1st Premier League win of 2021?

Having won three games in a row prior to last weekend’s defeat to West Ham, the Villa manager will certainly be disappointed with the subsequent defeats, albeit against two Champions League-chasing teams.

The 41-year-old will also be disappointed with the performance of Ollie Watkins, who was off-colour at Villa Park today.

Bad day for Watkins

According to SofaScore, the 26-year-old had just 22 touches during his 82 minutes on the pitch, losing the ball on ten occasions at a rate of every 2.2 touches. Moreover, the only shot that he could muster ended up being blocked, whilst he also failed to complete a single dribble.

Watkins was also careless on occasion with his passing, ending the afternoon with a 57% passing accuracy as he completed just eight out of his attempted 14 passes.

With Gerrard reverting back to a 4-3-3 with the Englishman as the lone striker, there was certainly a lack of a physical presence up front, with the forward winning just one of seven attempted duels.

The 41-year-old eventually decided to make a straight swap after 82 minutes by bringing on Danny Ings, a signal that it was an afternoon to forget for the ex-Brentford marksman.

This season we certainly hasn’t seen the best of Watkins, with the striker scoring seven goals so far this term compared to the 14 he netted in the top flight in 2020/21. A six-game drought was ended in Villa’s 2-0 win at Brighton last month with the 26-year-old netting the decisive goal against the Seagulls and then finding the net against Southampton the following week.

However, it is now three games without a goal for Watkins, something which is becoming a regular occurrence in recent months, with the striker certainly capable of more frequent goal returns.

The West Midlands club have invested heavily on strikers over the past two summers, with the 26-year-old joining from Brentford in 2020 for a then club-record fee of £28m before Ings was lured from Southampton for £25m last summer.

This season, the duo have scored a combined 12 goals, rarely both appearing on the pitch at the same time. Today shows that it is certainly a puzzle which Gerrard is still trying to solve.

Who is better, Watkins or Ings?

Watkins

Watkins

Ings

Ings

At 26, there is no doubt that Watkins can still improve massively, and there have been glimpses of brilliance on occasion when playing in claret and blue. In fact, last season saw the striker called up for England, despite having what he called a “stinker” against Newcastle shortly prior to the call-up.

He now needs to find consistency in his goalscoring in order to get back into the Three Lions reckoning and show that today’s performance was a rare off-day.

In other news – 58 appearances, £1.2m-per-goal: Sherwood flop was a disastrous signing for Aston Villa

Article title: Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins was off-colour in defeat to Arsenal

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