Ajax can brace themselves: 'Together with Foden, the best in the Premier League'

If Ollie Watkins takes to the field on Thursday, Ajax should brace themselves. The English striker has been in quite a form lately for Aston Villa, scoring seven times in their last five Premier League matches.

Ajax can brace themselves: 'Together with Foden, the best in the Premier League'
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Ollie Watkins' rise to prominence in the Premier League is not just a testament to his individual talent but also to the strategic foresight of Unai Emery, who has adeptly managed Watkins' abilities to benefit the team across all competitions.

With sixteen goals in the Premier League and a pivotal role in Aston Villa's European campaign, Watkins' influence on the pitch is undeniable. His direct involvement in more goals than any other player in the league this season, through a combination of goals and assists, highlights his versatility and knack for playmaking alongside his scoring prowess.

Watkins' performance in European competitions under Emery's guidance has been particularly noteworthy. Scoring in crucial matches against AZ and Hibernian in the qualifiers, he has proven himself to be a key player in pressure situations, a quality that will be indispensable as Aston Villa faces Ajax. Emery's decision to sometimes reserve Watkins for strategic appearances in the Conference League suggests a tactical approach to utilizing his top scorer's abilities where they can have the most impact.

The anticipation of Watkins' participation in the match against Ajax brings a significant challenge to the Dutch club's defense. This sentiment is echoed by Mark Bosnich, a respected figure in English football, who rates Watkins alongside Phil Foden as the best in the Premier League. Bosnich's commendation, based on Watkins' contributions to Aston Villa, underscores the forward's critical role in his team's performance.

Unai Emery's praise for Watkins following his double against Luton Town reinforces the striker's importance to the team. Emery's comments reflect not only on Watkins' skill on the field but also on his professional attitude off it. In a league as competitive as the Premier League, maintaining humility and a constant desire to improve are qualities that set apart the good from the great. Watkins embodies these traits, striving to enhance his game daily, which has undoubtedly contributed to his success and impact at Aston Villa.

As Aston Villa prepares for their upcoming European encounter, the focus on Watkins underscores the broader strategy at play. Emery's management and tactical deployment of Watkins highlight a well-thought-out approach to harnessing his top scorer's abilities to the fullest. For Ajax, the task of containing Watkins will be a testament to their defensive capabilities and will be crucial in their efforts to advance in the competition. Watkins' story this season is a narrative of individual brilliance, strategic management, and the relentless pursuit of excellence, making him a player to watch in the upcoming match and beyond.