A Wilfried Zaha brace helped Crystal Palace to a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa, claiming their first Premier League win of the new season.
It was an entertaining encounter from the start in a sunny park in Selhurst as Ollie Watkins (5) fired Aston Villa ahead. Leon Bailey nodded a long pass into the striker’s path, and he made no mistakes shooting past Vicente Guaita.
But the Crystal Palace keeper was rarely tested from there, and Crystal Palace fought back quickly. Zaha (7) escaped from the halfway line before entering the box and moving coolly past Emiliano Martinez.
The Eagles thought they had taken the lead at the end of the first half when Jeffrey Sclupp fired home after Odsonne Edouard was reduced, but VAR deemed Edouard offside from the free-kick initial.
After Bailey hit the woodwork early in the second half, Crystal Palace quickly had a second that counted, with VAR once again involved. Lucas Digne was penalized for handball after a Marc Guehi header – skillfully saved by Martinez – hit his raised arm.
Referee Andy Madley awarded the penalty after checking the pitchside monitor, with Zaha lining up the kick. His initial effort was saved by Martinez – who, despite the scoreline, had an impressive game – but his save didn’t go far enough as Zaha grabbed the rebound easily (58).
It was a penalty decision deemed “harsh” by Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard, who said: “I’m not sure what the rules say, but I’m sure there is a rule. in there that will go against us, but I felt for Lucas.
“I don’t know what else he can do, he goes up enough to challenge the ball, he tries to gain power and height and the header hit his arm from less than a yard.
“Our keeper makes a save, so it’s not like he stopped a goal on purpose… When you need full leverage at the back post and you’re in a duel, sometimes your games of the body take unnatural positions. The referees have to use common sense because for me it is a very severe sanction and a very severe rule.”
Crystal Palace looked dangerous with every attack and added their third with one of the game’s moves. It was a sumptuous heel from Zaha that saw Tyrick Mitchell explode on the left wing, from a sparkling cross returned home by a slipped Jean-Philippe Mateta (71st), the striker’s first touch as a substitute .
The win sees Crystal Palace register their first three points of the season, following their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday night football. However, Aston Villa – without defensive summer signing Diego Carlos – were unable to capitalize on the momentum of their maiden win against Everton last weekend.
How the Eagles flew past Villa
The first half was a breathless affair as Zaha quickly canceled out Watkins’ opener. After their equaliser, Palace began to find their attacking marks, although Schlupp’s goal to see the hosts up front was ruled out for offside.
Crystal Palace continued to chase for a second, but ran into the resolute Martinez. Just after Schlupp’s disallowed goal, the keeper denied Edouard at the near post before Aston Villa transferred the ball to safety.
- Crystal Palace made the only change from their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday Night Football with Nathaniel Clyne falling to the bench, replaced by Odsonne Edouard.
- Aston Villa have made three changes since winning against Everton. Diego Carlos is sidelined with a serious injury, with Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings also falling to the bench. Ezri Konza, Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey entered the XI.
Just before half-time, an unmarked Jordan Ayew drove in a cross from the left, but his shot was denied by a diving Martinez. Vicente Guaita didn’t have much to do for much of the first half but denied Emi Buendia a minute later as the Villa striker sent his shot straight to the Palace stopper.
Villa could have taken the lead six minutes after the break; it was superb play from Bailey down the right with Mitchell doing his best not to foul the striker. However, it allowed Bailey to cut inside before unleashing a thunderous, curling strike towards goal, only to see it hit the top of the crossbar.
But the tide turned in Palace’s favor soon after. Martinez had initially produced a superb save on Guehi’s header, but after a lengthy VAR check, Digne was deemed to have handled the ball. Zaha made sure the hosts’ second counted as he netted the rebound from his own saved penalty.
The hosts continued to push for a third with Villa not offering too much the other way despite introductions from Danny Ings, Philippe Coutinho and Douglas Luiz in the second half.
And Mateta completed the victory after a fine Palace attack to secure a well-deserved victory for the Eagles.
Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace: Guaita (6), Ward (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (7), Mitchell (6), Schlupp (7), Eze (8), Doucoure (6), Zaha (8), Edouard (8), Ayew (7).
Submarines used: Olise (6), Mateta (6), Milvojevic (5), Hughes (5), Richards (n/a).
AstonVilla: Martinez (7), Cash (5), Konza (5), Mings (5), Worthy (5), Kamara (5), McGinn (6), Ramsey (5), Buendia (4), Bailey (6), Watkins (6).
Submarines used: Ings (4), Luiz (4), Coutinho (4).
Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha.
With two goals and an integral part of Crystal Palace’s dazzling attacking performance, Zaha wins the applause. His backheel for Mitchell to set up Mateta for the third goal was nothing short of sensational.
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira said of his player after the game: “When you have those kinds of qualities you are always going to be targeted by opposing teams. He has that fire in him that has allowed him to enter the game and score goals.
“He’s an important player for us and if he continues to play like he did today with and without possession, we will be stronger as a team.”
Vieira: We took a step forward today
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira:
“It was a very good performance. From the first minute we were in the game. We wanted to play with a lot of intensity, press them high, get the ball as high as possible and today we did that. .
“We went through a difficult period in the game, but we managed to keep our composure and our organization. I was really happy with the attitude we showed and we also showed quality.
“We always have different tests in every game and going 1-0 we had to respond straight away. The best way to do that is to keep going and with the next chance Wilfried scored a fantastic goal. That helped us get back into the game right away.
Credit to him. He’s been out of the game for quite a while and the way he’s played so far has been really good for us. His creativity, his strength in the middle, dribbling people, creating chances is good but I still believe there is a lot more to come from him.
“It was not easy at all and you always ask the team how we are growing from game to game and today in terms of character and personality we took a step forward.
“In the first half, they were lucky to come in [at half-time] with a draw. We created chances but we didn’t score. What we want is to create those chances and with the quality we have we know we can score goals. Other than that, it’s a well-deserved win for us.”
Gerrard: Players didn’t react well after penalty
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard:
“We started very well. We got in front and scored a good goal, but we never kept the lead long enough. We allowed Crystal Palace to get back into the game too early.
“We came into half-time at 1-1 and the game hangs in the balance. We were well into the game for an hour and the big turning point was the penalty.
“I’m not sure what the rules say, but I’m sure there’s a rule in there that will go against us, but I felt for Lucas. I don’t know what he can do. else he rises enough to challenge for the ball, he tries to gain leverage and height and the header hits his arm within a yard.
“Our keeper makes a save so it’s not like he stopped a goal on purpose, but the punishment is really severe.
“When you need full leverage at the back position and you’re in a duel, sometimes your body parts go into unnatural positions. Referees have to use common sense because to me that’s a very severe penalty and a very severe rule.
“So far it was 1-1 in a tough place against a good team and you would take it before the game. But to concede like we did was a huge setback for the players and we don’t have never reacted well at this time.
“We didn’t defend the long balls well enough, we didn’t win enough individual duels at the right time in the big moments. I’m not here to complain or say we deserved to win, but for a most of the match, we were well into it.
“We also hit the bar at a key moment, so the moment didn’t go our way today and that’s why we’re on the wrong side of the result.
“I have to get on the training ground with this team and train them more, push them more and challenge them more and hopefully we will improve.”
Fantasy Premier League Stats
Statistics Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa FPL
|Goals||Watkin; Zaha (2); Mateta|
|Aids||Bailey; Edward; Mitchell|
|Bonus points||To confirm|
Play Fantasy Premier League and see more stats here
Opta stats – Zaha nets again in 2022
- Crystal Palace have won four of their last six Premier League matches at Selhurst Park (D1 L1), as many wins as in their previous 16 matches in the competition (D7 L5).
- Aston Villa have lost three consecutive away league games for the first time since November 2021 under Dean Smith.
- Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has scored 12 Premier League goals in 2022, with only Spurs duo Son Heung-min and Harry Kane (15 each) scoring more than the Ivorian in the competition this calendar year.
Both teams are back in the Carabao Cup midweek. Crystal Palace travel to Oxford United on Tuesday before hosting Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday; kick off 3 p.m.
Aston Villa will also play Bolton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday before hosting West Ham in the Premier League next Sunday; kick off 2 p.m.