Express & Star

Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins reveals extra motivation from pundit aided him in Arsenal win

Villa striker Ollie Watkins has revealed how being written off by a radio pundit gave him added motivation to shoot down Arsenal.


Watkins scored his 26th goal of the season as Unai Emery’s men stunned the title-chasing Gunners 2-0 on Sunday to bolster their chances of securing Champions League football next season.

It was Arsenal’s first league defeat of 2024 and Watkins later explained he had been fired-up after hearing TalkSport commentator Simon Jordan dismiss both his and Villa’s chances.

He said: “I put the radio on while driving to training the other day and heard Simon Jordan saying that he wasn’t worried about me or Aston Villa causing Arsenal problems.

“It is nice to prove doubters wrong. Nice for him to eat his own words, really.”

Victory moved Villa three points clear of Tottenham in the race for fourth place, though Watkins warned there is still a long way to go.

Emery’s team play twice in the league before Spurs are next in action against Arsenal on Sunday week but Watkins said: “If they (Tottenham) came here and won nobody would be surprised. They play a similar style to us.

“Some people may be surprised by Sunday’s result but I’m not. We’ve shown what we can do against the big teams and we deserve to be where we are.

“We’ve worked so hard here we can’t now next weekend just throw it all away. We need to keep building from this, keep going and proving people wrong and show them we can get into the Champions League.”

Watkins, who also took a dig at Troy Deeney on social media after the former Blues and Watford star recently described him as a winger trying to play as a striker, needs one more league goal to become Villa’s first player since Peter Withe to score 20 in a top flight season.

He said: “I’ve had my eyes on that since I joined the club. Obviously Christian Benteke had scored the most goals in a season (Premier League) with 19 and I’ve equalled that with five games left.

“I’m looking to get to 20 goals and once you get to 20 goals I think people start to really put you in that top striker category. That is something I’m working hard to achieve.”