Odds and Ends: Ollie Watkins can be a super Villan in race for Golden Boot

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins enjoyed a fine second half to last season and could offer each-way value in a Premier League top goalscorer market dominated by Erling Haaland  Picture by PA
Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins enjoyed a fine second half to last season and could offer each-way value in a Premier League top goalscorer market dominated by Erling Haaland Picture by PA

ERLING Haaland’s flying start to life in a Manchester City shirt rendered the Golden Boot race over before it had really begun last season, and the bookies are expecting more of the same from the Norwegian.

Haaland is no bigger than 8/11 to top the charts again having shattered all records on his way to 36 goals in 35 games in 2022/23, and so imposing is his presence at the head of the market that most firms are also betting without him.

Barring injury, it is very difficult to see anyone else being top dog, although any player can miss games and there is no way I’d be backing him at odds-on.

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Harry Kane chased Haaland hard last term, matching his best ever tally of 30 goals, and if you could be sure he was staying at Spurs he would be a cracking each-way bet at 15/2 with William Hill, but there is little way of knowing his future at this juncture.

Mo Salah can be backed at around the same price and will be the main man in a new-look Liverpool attacking unit, so he should go close to 20 goals as he always does.

However, with Haaland around, the best approach could be to have a few bets at bigger odds to pick up place money.

The first man to get on side is Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins (33/1, Sky Bet), who finished last season in red-hot form and will go into this one as the clear first choice to lead the line in an attacking side.

Watkins scored 13 goals after the post-World Cup resumption, and with penalty-taking part of his duties he could go close to the 20 mark in what should be good campaign for Villa.

Callum Wilson and Watkins may find themselves vying for the role of Kane’s understudy at international level, and the Newcastle number nine is also worth each-way interest here at 50/1 with Paddy Power.   

Wilson plundered 18 goals as Newcastle secured Champions League football, and while Alex Isak might also want to play centre-forward, he was often moved wide when both were fit.

Wilson has hit double figures three times in his Premier League career and is in a better team than ever before.

Meanwhile, Kane’s uncertain future may just open up more opportunities at Spurs for Richarlison, who Ange Postecoglou has taken a shine to after the Brazilian scored a hat-trick in pre-season.

He only managed one league goal in his first season in London, but hit double figures three times with Everton and scored three times at last winter’s World Cup. 

Richarlison could play a very prominent role if Kane moves on, and at 100/1 (Bet365) he might just be worth a small each-way play.


Ollie Watkins, e/w, 33/1, (Sky Bet)

Callum Wilson, e/w, 50/1 (Paddy Power)

Richarlison, e/w, 100/1 (Bet365)


UNAI Emery worked wonders at Aston Villa last season, inheriting a side that was just a point above the drop zone under Steven Gerrard and taking them to eighth and qualification for the Europa Conference League.

The Spaniard has been backed in the transfer market, with flying Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby and Spain central defender Pau Torres recruited for big money, and Youri Tielemans looking a shrewd freebie.

With pace, power and guile added to a very decent squad, Villa can be expected to go well again despite the added European fixtures, and they look a cracking bet at 13/8 with Bet Victor without the so-called ‘big seven’.


MARCUS Rashford enjoyed his best season in a Manchester United shirt in 2022/23, plundering 17 league goals, and he’s even-money to be his club’s top scorer again.

However, he can be taken on in this market with new captain Bruno Fernandes a great bet at 9/2 given the fact he’s outscored Rashford in two of his three full campaigns at Old Trafford and is the penalty-taker.

Bukayo Saka takes the spot-kicks for Arsenal and could be the man to top the Gunners’ charts with main striker Gabriel Jesus currently injured. Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard led the way with 15 each last term, one better than Saka, but the England winger continues to flourish and looks a good bet at 11/4 (William Hill).


NOBODY conceded fewer goals than Newcastle United last season, with their run to the top four built on a solid rearguard.

Goalkeeper Nick Pope played a huge part in that, keeping 14 clean sheets, with only the departed David de Gea having more, his 17 winning the Golden Glove award.

Ederson is the favourite to pick up that gong this season at 5/4 but the ever-reliable Pope might just be value at 14/1 (Betway), with the Magpies set for another good campaign.


Aston VIlla, without the ‘big 7’, 13/8 (Bet Victor)

Man City winner/Luton to finish bottom, 10/3 (Sky Bet)

Bruno Fernandes, top Man United goalscorer, 9/2 (Bet365)

Bukayo Saka, top Arsenal goalscorer, 11/4 (William Hill)

Nick Pope, Golden Glove award, 14/1 (Betway)