Aston Villa’s Watkins closing in on Sterling and Aubameyang


Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins is fast closing in on an English football goals mark currently held by Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Englishman found the net for Dean Smith’s men as they silenced Bristol City 3-0 in Thursday’s Carabao Cup fixture.

With strikes from Anwar El-Ghazi and Bertrand Traore handing the Premier League outfit a commanding 2-0 lead at half-time, the 24-year-old came off the bench to seal the victory for the visitors, who will now face Stoke City in the next round of the competition.

Watkins has now scored 28 goals since the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign across all competitions for English league sides.

Only Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Raul Jimenez (29), Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic (29), Sterling (31) and Aubameyang (31) have scored more goals than him during this period.

Twenty-six of Watkins’ goals came from the English Championship last season as Brentford failed in their bid to earn an EPL ticket.

The former Exeter City man reunited with manager Smith at Villa Park having been signed on a five-year contract for a club-record £28 million fee on September 9, 2020. He made his Aston Villa bow against Burton Albion – where he was among the goalscorers.

Subsequently, he went ahead to make his Premier League debut in a 1-0 home defeat of Sheffield United.

For debutant Bertrand Traore, he scored his first goal for an English side since finding the net for Chelsea against Stoke City in the English top-flight back in March 2016.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa’s assistant coach John Terry described the victory over the Robins as "excellent".

“The result to put us in the hat for the next round is excellent,” he told VillaTV.

“And the individual performances, and collectively.

"And it was an opportunity for players to go and get minutes as well, which is important.

"Also give the manager food for thought. Everyone competing for places. It was excellent all round.”

Article continues below

Following this result, the Smith’s men have now gone seven matches without defeat in all competitions, their longest unbeaten run as a top-flight side since May to September 2011.

They travel to Craven Cottage of Monday for their next encounter with Premier League newcomer Fulham.