Arsenal coming into the game on the back of a morale-boosting win at Old Trafford, hopes were high but the visitors immediately underlined their attacking intent when, just seconds into the match, John McGinn swept the ball into the top corner.
Dean Smith’s inspired side were excellent in north London and played with fluidity and confidence amid relentless rain to get back to winning ways and continue their 100% away record this season.
Watkins scored twice within three second-half minutes to seal all three points in the capital, coming after Bukayo Saka’s own goal, under pressure from Trezeguet, midway through the first half.
It came against a Gunners side who boasted the meanest defence in the Premier League heading into the encounter as Villa, who also saw John McGinn’s early strike ruled out by VAR, secured a third successive away win in the top flight for the first time since 2010.
Watkins made the points safe only three minutes later, this time providing a crisp first-time finish following a driving run by Jack Grealish.
Villa’s win, their third on the road this campaign without conceding a goal, moves them up to sixth spot on 15 points, three clear of Arsenal in 11th.