Steven Gerrard’s record as Aston Villa manager goes from one in one to two in two as his side are victorious away at Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace came into the game off the back of seven games without a loss whereas Aston Villa came into it off the back of one win in six. However, new manager Steven Gerrard had the dream start last week as they saw off Graham Potter’s Brighton at Villa Park. Gerrard and his squad would have wanted to continue that form into today’s game…
Palace made two changes from the side that drew to Burnley at Turf Moor last week as the sides were tied by three goals to three. James Tomkins came in for the injured Joachim Andersen, and former Villa man Jordan Ayew was replaced by Michael Olise. Ex Villa frontman Christian Benteke led the line with Olise and Wilfried Zaha either side of him – Zaha and Villa defender Tyrone Mings have past history from when the two faced eachother last boxing day for their respected clubs. Mings was sent off after a confrontation with Zaha. This was the first game that the two had played each other in since the confrontation.
Aston Villa made two changes from the side that started the game last week at home to Brighton as Leon Bailey and Ashley Young came into the side for Emiliano Buendia and Danny Ings. Bailey and Young came off the bench last week against Brighton and were the difference makers as Villa scored twice inside the last ten minutes, Young assisting one of them. Emiliano Martinez started in goal for the 50th time for Aston Villa.
Story Of The Game
Ollie Watkins got the game started for Aston Villa and we had lift off at Selhurst Park. Conor Gallagher brought Jacob Ramsey down two minutes in to give away a free kick around twenty five yards out for Villa. It took a while to get the free kick taken, however Bailey let fly, however it went straight into the Palace wall. Aston Villa started on the front foot. Cash had a slight chance, however it was a bit weak to threaten Guaita. Palace made a bit of a response and grew into it a little, however Villa stood their ground well. Eleven minutes in, a great ball from Olise found Zaha for Palace – a few good touches were took by the Ivory Coast international before he let fly, however he dragged it wide. Shortly after, the deadlock was broken. People were made aware about Crystal Palace’s struggles when it came to defending set pieces, and Villa capitalised on their weaknesses a quarter of an hour in as Ashley Young took a corner and whipped a great ball in that went over everybody towards Matt Targett at the back post who drilled it across goal to put his side a goal to the good. A first Premier League goal for him since October 2019.
Tyrone Mings went down a few minutes prior to injuring himself in the build up to Villa’s goal, however he was okay to carry on. Twenty minutes in, Watkins went to ground in the box, but no penalty was given. A good passage of play from Villa ended in Ashley Young having a shot from a tight angle, however it was saved by Guaita in the Palace net. Twenty five minutes had gone and Watkins did well to find McGinn who finessed one from a tight angle, however it flew over the bar. So close but so far. A few minutes after, Matty Cash caught Wilfred Zaha before Zaha turned around and pushed Cash over. However, Michael Salisbury decided that it was only worthy of a yellow card. Around ten minutes had passed, and Villa were still very much on the front foot. Mings did well to stop Benteke from getting a shot away with five minutes of the first half to go. Joel Ward was the second player in the book for a foul on Ashley Young. Watkins went down in the box again, however no penalty was given. Three minutes were added before half time, and a lapse in concentration between Tomkins, Ward and Guaita almost seen Villa go two up, however it remained 1-0 before the half time whistle was sounded.
Christian Benteke got the second half started for Crystal Palace who had a bright start to the second half, having majority of the ball for the first five or so minutes of the half. Marvelous Nakamba was booked for a foul on Joel Ward fifty three minutes in. Two minutes after, it seemed as if Ollie Watkins was away ; Luka Milivojevic brought him down, and there was uproar amongst the Villa fans, players and coaches. They all thought it was a red. However, the referee gave a yellow card to the Serbian. A bad challenge, however a tactical one. He wasn’t the last man, which was what Villa were appealing for, as Tyrick Mitchell was also back for the Eagles. Young took the free kick, however it went over the bar and bounced off the top of the net into the Crystal Palace fans behind the goal. On the hour mark, Palace had a good chance created by England international Conor Gallagher who fired a ball across goal. Cash tried to get it clear, kicked it against Konsa, however eventually managed to get rid of the danger. Shortly after, Eberechi Eze replaced Luka Milivojevic for Crystal Palace. Eze’s first game back after an ACL injury. Five minutes after Palace made their first change, Villa made their’s as Douglas Luiz replaced youngster Jacob Ramsey. With twenty minutes to go, Michael Olise whipped a ball in for Palace. Martinez spilled it, but the danger was cleared. Villa were looking a bit shaky at the back. Odsonne Edouard replaced Wilfred Zaha with just under twenty to go as Palace’s search for an equaliser continued. With just over fifteen minutes to go, the red card was out for Douglas Luiz who had only been on the pitch for ten minutes. A foul on Cheikou Kouyate resulted in Michael Salisbury getting the red card out for the Brazilian, however after rewatching the challenge, he overturned the decision and gave him a yellow instead. Anwar El Ghazi replaced Leon Bailey with just over ten minutes to go for Villa, and shortly after, former Villa man Benteke set himself for an overhead kick, however a good reaction save from Emi Martinez kept him out. Martinez had another save to make shortly after as Gallagher set Edouard up for a shot which was quite weak and resulted in a routine save for the Argentinian in the Villa net who injured himself in the process. He was okay to carry on, however. Time wasting, perhaps. With six minutes of normal time to go, Emi Buendia replaced veteran Ashley Young who had a brilliant game ; another footballer proving that age is just a number as the thirty six year old put in a great performance and assisted Matt Targett’s goal too. Eighty five minutes had gone, five to go, and a lovely passage of play from Villa resulted in a beautiful goal from John McGinn who made it 2-0 and secured the three points for Villa.
Six minutes were added, and Watkins went down in the box for the third time in the game, however again, nothing was given. Steven Gerrard and Villa experienced a scare late on as Mark Guehi prodded home a cross from Kouyate to make it 2-1, however, the full time whistle sounded shortly after, and Villa received a deserved three points.
A great three points for Aston Villa as they end Crystal Palace’s seven game unbeaten run and are the first side to beat them at home in the league since Arsenal six months ago. Steven Gerrard’s 100% win record in the Premier League as a manager carries on, and the Villa squad will be full of confidence as they face Premier League champions Manchester City at Villa Park on Wednesday night.
Man Of The Match – John McGinn
Not only did he score, John McGinn had a great all round game today. His work rate is something to cherish. He was everywhere on the hollow turf of Selhurst Park, winning the ball back, carrying the ball, creating chances, scoring a beauty of a goal. A 10/10 performance from the Scotsman. Two honourable mentions who were unfortunate to miss out were Marvelous Nakamba and Ashley Young.
Biggest Underperformer – Conor Gallagher
One of the most inform players in the Premier League coming into the game had a poor one for Crystal Palace. He has been brilliant for the Eagles this season, and his performances have been recognised by England manager Gareth Southgate who gave him his first England call up and cap earlier this month, but today, he didn’t do too much. Outclassed by both McGinn and Nakamba in the middle of the park.