Ollie Watkins is currently experiencing a dream season with Aston Villa. The center forward has already racked up 26 goals and 10 assists in 45 total matches during the current campaign. 19 of these scores and every assist has come during Premier League play as well. As a direct result of his play, Villa has surprised many by becoming a contender for a Champions League place.

After finishing seventh last year, manager Unai Emery has his club sitting fourth in the current Premier League standings. The team’s defense may be shaky at times, but Watkins has helped make the Villans one of the more attractive soccer sides in the entire country. With the England international firing on all cylinders and scoring for fun, Ollie Watkins will likely be in contention to take home the Premier League Player of the Season award.

Twenty-two of the last 23 award winners have come from Big Six clubs

Watkins taking home the trophy at the end of the season is, however, admittedly a tough task. This is ultimately down to the striker’s team though and not due to his overall abilities. The last player from a side outside of the traditional Big Six to win the award was Jamie Vardy in 2015/16. Vardy led Leicester City to the Premier League title that season in one of the most surprising campaigns in the division’s history.

While Watkins has Villa flying, the Birmingham-based side will not win the title in May. Not only has it been eight years since a player from a non-Big Six team won the award, but Vardy’s triumph was essentially an anomaly. All Premier League Player of the Season winners since 2000 have come from a Big Six side except for the Leicester legend.

Watkins will likely have to top one of Manchester City’s stars to win the award. Rodri and Erling Haaland are perhaps the top two contenders in Pep Guardiola’s squad. The midfielder is having a career year with seven goals and seven assists in league play from a deep-lying position. City is also undefeated in the division this season with Rodri in the lineup.

Haaland collected the Player of the Season trophy last year after a record-breaking campaign. While the superstar is experiencing a bit of a ‘down year,’ his statistics are still stellar. Haaland has one more goal to his name than Watkins in league play. Nevertheless, the tandem could very well split potential votes due to being on the same team.

Villa must finish in the top four for Ollie Watkins to win Player of the Season

If this is the case come May, Watkins may have a serious chance at winning the award. Villa will almost certainly have to qualify for the top four though. The West Midlands club has a three-point advantage over Tottenham Hotspur at the moment, but the London side has an extra game in hand.

Arsenal‘s Bukayo Saka and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah are both also in contention for the award as well. Nevertheless, the duo will likely need to win the Premier League title to boost their chances for the individual trophy.

Assuming Villa does succeed at nabbing a Champions League place, the award may just be Watkins’ to lose. The forward currently co-leads the entire Premier League in combined goals and assists with 29. He, however, would need to continue this pace for the remainder of the season. Villa’s next top-flight fixture comes against Bournemouth on Sunday, April 21. They then finish out with four remaining matches in the campaign.