Ollie Watkins’ (£8.0m) form and fixtures give managers in Fantasy Premier League a major decision to make over their forward lines.
Watkins scored a hat-trick and supplied two assists in the 6-1 win, collecting 305,000+ new owners ahead of a very enticing run of opponents.
According to the Fixture Difficulty Ratings (FDR), each of Villa’s next five matches score just two.
Villa’s next five matches
Watkins’ haul against the Seagulls extended his consistent start to the season and has taken him to the top of the player standings on 54 points.
He has blanked just once in his first seven outings, producing four goals and six assists.
Watkins' hat-trick v Brighton
Watkins’ form and fixtures could now make him the ideal strike partner alongside Erling Haaland (£14.1m) for managers playing a 3-5-2 formation this season.
This has proven the most popular tactic in the early stages of 2023/24, with Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez (£7.0m) paired with his Norwegian team-mate in many line-ups.
Watkins & Alvarez Fantasy statistics
Alvarez’s goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, meanwhile, took him to sixth place in the player standings on 46 points.
However, with a visit to Arsenal up next, he is the most-sold forward in the Gameweek, moved on by 51,000+.
The form of Watkins’ more budget-friendly team-mate Moussa Diaby (£6.7m) is another factor to consider when investing in Villa.
Listed as a midfielder in Fantasy, the Frenchman has two goals and four assists to his name and has yet to blank in back-to-back Gameweeks.
The underlying numbers show Watkins has the edge over both Alvarez and Diaby for goal threat.
Watkins, Alvarez & Diaby comparison
|Shots in box||21||12||13|
Watkins and Alvarez are identical on 22 shots each, while Diaby has had 18.
However, Watkins’ 21 shots in the box and seven big chances are significantly better than his two rivals here.
Indeed, Alvarez and Diaby are very similar, with 12 and 13 shots in the box respectively and two big chances each.
When it comes to creativity, Alvarez leads both Villa attackers, supplying 19 scoring opportunities for his team-mates.
Watkins is his nearest challenger, with 15 key passes ranking second to the Argentinian among forwards in Fantasy.
Go for Alvarez AND Watkins?
Ultimately, the statistics indicate Watkins’ superior goal threat can establish him as the best partner for Haaland in a 3-5-2 formation.
He also looks a better all-round prospect than Diaby for those yet to invest in the Villa attack for their favourable run of opponents.
However, the numbers also suggest there is another option for managers to consider; owning both Watkins and Alvarez alongside Haaland in a 3-4-3 set-up.
The pair have already combined for 100 points and Alvarez’s form, added to his relatively low price, suggests he still merits a place in managers’ plans and would be a harsh sell right now.
The Argentinian's strike at Molineux means he has outscored Haaland in three of the first seven Gameweeks, including two of the last three.
Watkins and Alvarez ranks
When compared with all other players this season, Alvarez’s huge all-round potential is apparent.
He occupies a place in the top five for both shots and chances created.
Watkins, meanwhile, sits in the top four for both shots and shots in the box.
Certainly, the Villa forward is the most appealing pick for those keen to retain the 3-5-2 set-up and take advantage of the numerous options in midfield.
There is no doubt, though, that Watkins and Alvarez are making a strong claim for managers to reassess that strategy and pick both of them alongside Haaland.
Also in this series
Part 2: Is Trippier essential to own in Fantasy?
Part 3: FPL experts: Is it a mistake to overlook Trippier?
Part 4: FPL experts: What to do with Brighton players?
Part 5: Why Hojlund's arrival has hindered Rashford in Fantasy
View all the latest FPL tips ahead of Gameweek 8 in Fantasy Premier League