Matchweek 32
All times shown are your local time
Sat 6 Apr 2024
Kick Off:
Villa Park, Birmingham
Att: 42,218
Ref: Michael Salisbury
  • HT
    90 +7
  • FT



    Aston Villa and Brentford played out an enthralling 3-3 draw at Villa Park, with the returning Ollie Watkins scoring twice against his former club to move within one goal of Erling Haaland in the Premier League scoring charts.

    John McGinn and Watkins were back in Villa’s starting XI and they combined for the opener, with the England striker heading home McGinn’s cross six minutes before the break despite the best efforts of Brentford goalkeeper Mark Flekken.

    Morgan Rogers scored his first Villa goal inside the first minute of the second half to double the home team’s advantage, though Zanka and Bryan Mbeumo both scored in a frantic two-minute period to level things up on the hour.

    Yoane Wissa appeared to have completed the turnaround after tapping in a Sergio Reguilon cross, but Watkins grabbed his second to equalise with 10 minutes remaining and deny Brentford what would have been just their second away win of the Premier League season.

    The draw leaves Villa in fourth place on 60 points, three ahead of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur having now played two games more than Spurs.

    How the match unfolded

    It was Unai Emery’s men who went ahead in the 39th-minute when McGinn’s cross from the right found Watkins, whose header was pushed against the inside of the post by Flekken, only for the ball to cross the line before he could push it out again.

    Villa's lead was doubled just 32 seconds into the second half as a neat passing move down the right ended with Youri Tielemans sliding in Rogers, who turned Kristoffer Ajer well before finishing inside Flekken’s near post with his left foot.

    Jorgensen halved the deficit just before the hour mark, turning in Mikkel Damsgaard’s ball across the box even though he perhaps didn’t make the connection he had intended, before Mbeumo sublimely volleyed in Reguilon’s cross from the left to level it up just two minutes later.

    The turnaround was complete for the Bees when Mathias Jensen played a lovely ball over to the left channel for Reguilon, and the Spaniard calmly crossed low for Wissa to give Brentford the lead from close range.

    The drama wasn’t over there, though, as Watkins made it 3-3 when he headed in Leon Bailey’s deflected cross at the back post. That goal leaves Brentford in 16th place on 29 points, just four away from danger.

    Villa's frustrating afternoon was compounded in the final minutes of the match when Douglas Luiz was issued a yellow card. his 10th of the season means he is now suspended for Villa's next two matches against Arsenal and AFC Bournemouth.

    Watkins is now outright second in the Premier League scoring charts with 18 goals. In front of the watching England manager Gareth Southgate, Watkins started and scored a double while his international team-mate Ivan Toney sat on the bench for Brentford.

    Bees boss Frank explained prior to the game that Toney’s exclusion was due to a “small” muscle injury, and Watkins took advantage of his own pitch time with two headers, including a vital equaliser just when it seemed Villa had thrown everything away as an intense pursuit of a UEFA Champions League spot continues.

    It was an insipid performance from Brentford for the first 59 minutes, though Mbeumo had been doing his best to drag them up the pitch and he was at the centre of most of what the Bees did well.

    The Cameroon international volleyed Brentford level with a superb effort on his weaker right foot, and generally caused Emery’s side all sorts of headaches, even prior to the rest of his team-mates matching his levels.

    Mbeumo has scored five and been involved in six more away goals in the Premier League this season than any other Brentford player, despite playing in just nine of their matches on the road.

    Club reports

    Aston Villa report | Brentford report

    Match officials 

    Referee: Michael Salisbury. Assistants: Tim Wood, Derek Eaton. Fourth official: Thomas Bramall. VAR: Chris Kavanagh. Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin.

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    Club Reports

    Match officials

    Referee: Michael Salisbury

    Fourth Official: Thomas Bramall

    VAR: Chris Kavanagh

    Assistant VAR: Ian Hussin

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