Aston Villa duo nominated for prestigious accolades amid Champions League push

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Unai Emery and Ollie Watkins have been nominated for end-of-season awards by the Premier League.

Aston Villa’s head coach and top scorer have been recognised for their immense efforts throughout what has been a mightily successful campaign, surpassing all expectations and then some.

Emery is up for the Manager of the Season award, while Watkins has been shortlisted for the Player of the Season accolade. It’s no wonder why as Emery has led the Villans to a record 20 top-flight wins and Watkins is the division’s best all-rounder with 19 goals and 12 assists in 35 appearances.

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The other coaches up for the managerial trophy are Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta, AFC Bournemouth’s Andoni Iraola, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp. Of those, it’s a tight contest but Guardiola and Arteta are probably the frontrunners due to their remarkably consistent campaigns at the league’s summit.

But Emery shouldn’t be written off as Villa have achieved their success with several obstacles hurdled. The squad depth has been tested to its limits due to serious injuries suffered by Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia Boubacar Kamara and Jacob Ramsey, while the long UEFA Europa Conference League run has been testing.

Unai Emery has been nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Season.Unai Emery has been nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Season.
Unai Emery has been nominated for the Premier League Manager of the Season. | AFP via Getty Images

Watkins, meanwhile, is up against a more candidates for the player accolade. Phil Foden and Erling Haaland of Manchester City are named alongside Arsenal duo Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard. Chelsea’s Cole Palmer and Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Newcastle United’s Alexander Isak complete the eight-star lineup.

Haaland, as the Premier League top scorer with 25 goals, is the favourite. Teammate Foden will be in the lead pack, too, given he won the Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year. But Watkins could stand a chance, considering his creative input as well as his goals.

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