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Douglas Luiz: Ollie Watkins is Aston Villa's best player

Douglas Luiz has hailed Ollie Watkins Villa’s best player and expressed belief Unai Emery’s men can bring down the Premier League’s big guns this week.

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Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Sunday December 3, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Bournemouth. Photo credit should read: Steven Paston/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Villa host champions Manchester City and leaders Arsenal back-to-back in two of the most highly anticipated matches at Villa Park for several years.

They head into Wednesday’s visit of City after a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth on Sunday which came courtesy of Watkins’ 90th minute equaliser.

The striker has now scored 13 goals in 21 appearances this season – while also setting up six more and midfielder Luiz reckons he is currently the club’s star man.

“He (Ollie) is so important for us,” said Luiz. “He's a good guy and he deserves this. We’re very happy for him. He saved us on Sunday.

“He’s more confident (this season). I think now, at the moment, he is the best player in the squad. He scores goals, makes assists. Everyone is so happy for him.”

Emi Martinez, recently crowned the world’s best goalkeeper, also made several key saves on the south coast and Luiz smiled: “I know, I know! But Ollie is the one who can score a goal in the last minute, or create one. That is my opinion.”

Fourth-placed Villa have won 13 consecutive home league matches and will equal a club record which has stood since 1931 if they beat City.

A win would also see them leapfrog Pep Guardiola’s men in the table and Luiz, who joined from City for £15million in 2019, admits he and his team-mates are brimming with confidence every time they take the pitch at Villa Park.

“We are so confident at home and we believe we can win,” he said. “We need to keep this up at home, where we are so strong. We need to train hard because the week is so difficult. But we can win.

“We are so excited for these two games. They are important for us. We are near the top of the table and need to focus this week and try to win both.

“I believe so much in the group. We have a good coach. We’re doing a good job at the moment. At home we are so strong. Away we need to improve a little bit and then I believe we can stay at the top of the league.

“Top four, top five. We need to play all the games. We know it is so difficult and we need to keep going.”