Ollie Watkins Propels Villa to Fourth Position in Thrilling Victory

Ollie Watkins Propels Villa to Fourth Position in Thrilling Victory

Ollie Watkins propelled Aston Villa into fourth place in the Premier League, orchestrating a comeback to secure a 2-1 victory against Tottenham on a day dedicated to honoring former manager Terry Venables.

In the first half in north London, Unai Emery’s team found themselves trailing to Giovani Lo Celso’s inaugural goal of the season. However, Pau Torres equalized just before halftime, and Watkins’ 12th goal of the season sealed an impressive result for the resurgent Villa.

Villa climbed above Tottenham into fourth place, leaving Ange Postecoglou’s side trailing by two points in fifth after suffering a third consecutive defeat, disrupting their early-season momentum.

Despite Tottenham relinquishing the lead in all three defeats, Postecoglou pointed to injuries, which deprived him of key players, including James Maddison.

Emery’s Villa demonstrated resilience, securing their third away win in the last 11 league games and highlighting the progress made since he took over from the dismissed Steven Gerrard last season.

With just a two-point gap behind league leaders Arsenal, Villa has won four of their last five league games, igniting genuine hopes of a top-four challenge.

In memory of Venables, a former innovative manager of England, Barcelona, and Tottenham, where he secured the FA Cup in 1991, both teams wore black armbands. A picture of Venables was displayed on each big screen during a minute of applause before kick-off, celebrating his life.

Despite Tottenham’s early dominance, with Dejan Kulusevski hitting the post and Bryan Gil denied by a fine save from Emiliano Martinez, Villa responded. In the 22nd minute, Lo Celso’s powerful strike deflected in off Carlos, giving Tottenham the lead.

Villa thought they had an immediate response through Watkins, but his goal was disallowed for a tight offside after a lengthy VAR check.

In first-half stoppage time, Villa capitalized on defensive vulnerabilities as Torres headed in Douglas Luiz’s free-kick to equalize.

Early in the second half, Vicario’s error almost gifted Villa the lead, but he recovered after Leon Bailey’s shot hit the post.

In the 61st minute, Villa exploited Tottenham’s defensive frailties as Watkins combined with Youri Tielemans, guiding a clinical finish into the far corner.

Despite Pedro Porro’s attempt and Watkins’ narrowly missed header, Martinez made crucial saves for Villa. Efforts from Brennan Johnson and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg were thwarted, and Son’s strike was disallowed for offside, concluding a frustrating afternoon for Tottenham.