Late Ollie Watkins equaliser saves Aston Villa’s blushes against Brentford

Aston Villa

If Aston Villa do not qualify for the Champions League, the chances are Unai Emery will pinpoint this draw as the day that derailed their best-laid plans. His demeanour afterwards suggested this was a scoreline that will linger. Villa established a 2-0 buffer seconds after the restart but three goals in nine second-half minutes earned Brentford a shock lead.

Villa imploded but Ollie Watkins, who headed in the first goal of a crazy game, nodded in his second late on to prevent a stinging defeat. Make no mistake, though, this was a result that will jar. Villa could hardly give Tottenham, three points behind but with two games in hand, greater encouragement that fourth spot is still up for grabs. Villa could regret leaving their hopes of qualifying for Europe’s elite competition in the hands of the Uefa coefficient.

For Villa, it was an any-win-will-do kind of afternoon. Until Watkins headed in off a post with half-time looming it proved a frustrating contest, with chances at a premium and a low block to navigate. They were a touch pedestrian, a little too predictable. Thomas Frank set up his side to stifle and hit Villa on the counter, with Bryan Mbeumo preferred to Ivan Toney in attack. The England striker was a substitute, not fully fit after a hip problem. “He is a beast – he can play through everything – but sometimes I need to be the sensible guy,” Frank said.

source – Late Ollie Watkins equaliser saves Aston Villa’s blushes against Brentford | Premier League | The Guardian