Ollie Watkins: The hot-streak which has helped lift Aston Villa into the top half

Since the conclusion of the World Cup last November very few players around the globe have been scoring at the same rate as Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins.

With eight goals in Villa’s last ten matches, Watkins has now surpassed the 10-goal milestone in all three of his Premier League seasons. He also became the first Aston Villa player ever to score in five-straight Premier League matches with his goal against Everton back in February.

Watkins' upturn in form has been a culmination of the work done by Unai Emery in righting the ship following his appointment in October, and the departure of Danny Ings to West Ham in the January transfer window.

This has triggered a goal-scoring run that never looked close to being realised at the start of the season when Watkins scored just twice in his first 14 appearances, with Villa failing to score in 11 of those matches.

The current hot streak started in Aston Villa’s Boxing Day clash against Liverpool when Watkins found the back of the net with a header via an inch-perfect cross by Douglas Luiz. Watkins also had an excellent goal called back in the same match after getting caught offside. While Villa were defeated by Liverpool, things only began to trend upward from there.

After helping Villa to secure seven of a possible nine points in their next three matches and picking up an assist against Tottenham on Matchday 18, Watkins would go on to score a goal in each of the team’s next five games.

Most recently, Watkins scored on Tuesday night against Leicester City to reach six-straight away matches with a goal. That is a figure that has not been reached since Sergio Agüero did so in 2017 for Manchester City.

A model of consistency throughout this stretch, his shot grading numbers have routinely been ranking among the Premier League’s best, especially when compared solely against strikers.

Matchday (opponent) PFF shooting grade Positional rank Overall rank
17 (Liverpool) 93.9 1/20 1/78
25 (Everton) 88.6 1/15 1/64
23 (Manchester City) 80.0 2/19 12/79
27 (Chelsea) 80.8 5/20 12/84

Currently one of three Premier League players that have scored ten or more goals in each of the last three seasons (Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah), Watkins has put together another impressive body of work even after a very slow start to the year.

His 11 goals are tied for eighth most in the Premier League this year, while his 88.5 shooting grade on the season ranks him fourth among centre-forwards and fifth among all players.

This grade has grown significantly from his 2021-22 campaign. On the same number of graded shots (55), Watkins posted a 73.5 shooting grade, 24th among strikers and 71st overall in the Premier League.

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