Express & Star

Aston Villa sweat on fitness of key striker

Villa face an anxious wait on the fitness of Ollie Watkins after the top scorer was forced out of Saturday’s win over Wolves with a hamstring problem.


The England international will undergo a scan on Sunday after complaining of discomfort, which led to him being replaced by Jhon Duran at half-time.

Villa boss Unai Emery explained how Watkins was keen to continue before taking the advice of the club’s medical team.

Emery said: “He was feeling something, his hamstring. At the beginning he was telling us he could carry on playing but the doctor said it was better not to play with risk.

“We decided to change him. We will check him tomorrow morning. Maybe it is hamstring, hopefully not a lot. We will find out tomorrow.”

Goals in each half from Moussa Diaby and Ezri Konsa earned Villa their first win over Wolves since December 2020 and restored their three-point cushion over Tottenham in the race for Champions League football.

Diaby broke the deadlock six minutes before the break, with Emery admitting some frustration at the “soft” start to the match made his team.

Konsa then netted his first Premier League goal 20 minutes into the second half when his attempted cross went in off the far post.

Emery said: “It was a difficult match. We started soft the first 20 minutes but we recovered well and progressively got better.

“We imposed our gameplan. We played disciplined and got a victory which was very, very important.”

Asked about his team’s Champions League aspirations, Emery replied: “It’s the day 30.

“There are still eight matches to play and we have to be consistent like we were. Like we showed today as well.

“Until the day 33, 34, I don’t want to speak about the possibility to play in the Champions League. We are in and we are happy. We can feel comfortable being fourth in the table.”