- Ollie Watkins wasn’t in the squad during Aston Villa’s won over Legia Warsaw
- The Premier League club take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday
- Manchester United in a mess – they have a collapse in them – It’s All Kicking Off
Ollie Watkins was absent during Aston Villa’s Europa League clash against Legia Warsaw on Thursday because he is ‘dealing with a small pain’, Unai Emery has revealed.
In-form Watkins was left out of Aston Villa’s squad as 19-year-old reserve striker Jhon Duran started at centre-forward during the 2-1 victory at Villa Park.
Moussa Diaby fired the hosts in front in the fourth minute before Ernest Muci levelled terms midway through the first half.
Alex Moreno then sealed the victory with a second-half strike from close range to keep Aston Villa’s spot at the top of their group.
Villa fans will be concerned by Watkins’ absence, given that the England international has already made 20 appearances this season and scored 12 times across all competitions.
Ollie Watkins (above) is ‘dealing with a small pain’, Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has revealed
The manager cast doubt over the striker’s availability for this weekend’s trip to Bournemouth
Asked whether Watkins missed out due to an injury or simply a precaution, Emery said: ‘Both. He had a small pain yesterday. Not very strong. We decided as well to rest him.’
With a busy run of games on the horizon over the festive period, Aston Villa will be keen to keep their talisman fit and firing after a fruitful start to the campaign.
Villa take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday, having leapt into the top four after beating Tottenham 2-1 last weekend.
Playing down his side’s top four chance last week, Emery told Mail Sport: ‘There are seven teams who are contenders more than us for the top seven positions. While we are there we are going to try to enjoy it and keep it.
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Watkins scored the winner during Aston Villa’s triumphant 2-1 win over Tottenham last week
‘Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle.
We can get confidence from wins like this (Tottenham). But it is still clear in my mind, we need balance. It’s 38 games, we have to show consistency.
‘We are in a good position and not a contender but while we are there we have to try to keep it.
‘We have to be happy, we have to enjoy and be demanding as well.’