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Aston Villa: Emery must unleash Watkins

Aston Villa will be looking to improve from their 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on Boxing Day when they travel to London to take on Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon.

It will be another tough test for Unai Emery and his men, however, Spurs aren’t in the best form, winning just two out of their previous six Premier League matches and Villa certainly have the chance to secure a positive result and give them momentum.

Douglas Luiz impressed against the Anfield side last time out, making three key passes and grabbing an assist; however, it was Ollie Watkins who should be unleashed again today, with the player finally coming into some decent form following a poor opening half to the season.

On the chalkboard

The English striker has struggled this term, no doubt about it, scoring just four goals all season, a far cry from last season where he scored 11, and it’s evident that he needs to get back to the form that led to former Villa manager Dean Smith to dub him as “one of the best” in his position.

The £75k-per-week striker showed signs that he was getting back to his best against Liverpool, finding the net with an expertly placed header in the second half while taking four shots in total during the match, proving that he was keen on getting back to his goalscoring best.

He also missed a big chance while playing one key pass and winning both of his aerial duels and although Liverpool sealed the win with ten minutes left on the clock, the display by Watkins will give Emery confidence he can deliver against Spurs today.

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Watkins and Danny Ings remain the only two senior centre-forwards at the club and unless Emery signs one or two attacking options in the new year, he will have to put his trust in the pair to deliver during the second half of the season.

Spurs will be another big test, but if Watkins can score and impress against Liverpool, then he should be more than capable of finding the net against Antonio Conte’s men.