Watkins' double downs Fulham to send Villa into top four

Ollie Watkins has 13 goals and 12 assists in the Premier League this season.
Photo by David Horton - CameraSport/Getty Images

Ollie Watkins scored twice as Aston Villa held off a late fightback from Fulham to move into the top four of the Premier League with a 2-1 away win on Saturday.

The England striker, who had the ball in the net inside two minutes but was offside, scored either side of half-time to take his tally in the league this season to 13 goals.

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Watkins capitalised on a loose throw-in to turn and fire home before he doubled Villa's lead after 56 minutes with an emphatic finish from Youri Tielemans' perfect through ball.

"I thought we were going to score three or four," Watkins told the BBC. "That wasn't the case. Fulham responded really well and put us under pressure."

Rodrigo Muniz pulled one back in the 64th minute, his fourth goal in three games, after Clement Lenglet's hesitation allowed the forward to poke home from close range. 

The goal lifted the home fans and set up a breathless end to the match with Fulham pushing for an equaliser as Villa tried to exploit the space left behind on the counter.

Substitute Adama Traore had the best chance to snatch a point, forcing a great save from Emiliano Martinez late on.

Villa withstood the pressure for a deserved win to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur, who lost 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, into fourth place on 49 points. Fulham remained 12th on 29.

Unai Emery was very happy with his players' performance to earn a two-goal lead and their resilience to hang on for three points.

"I think we deserved at the end of the match to win like we did," he told reporters.

Fulham coach Marco Silva thought his side definitely deserved a point and was left to rue a poor first-half performance.

"I think we reacted well at the beginning in the second half," he said before bemoaning "really sloppy" defending for Villa's second goal which left Fulham too much to do.

"This afternoon was not just about the chances we missed and the last 15, 20 minutes -- it was the way we conceded goals," Silva said.