The Spaniard’s blushes were arguably saved by the early VAR decision to deny Sakho a headed goal for handball, albeit he was deliberately blocked off by Ayew on closer inspection. Reina made up for it with a number of smart blocks across the game. His experience counted and when it mattered, Reina made no mistake between the sticks.
Struggled through the opening portion of the game with a knock and whilst faultless, was forced off through injury – replaced by Matt Targett.
Returned to action following injury seamlessly. Rarely tested by Palace but the display will hopefully work wonders for his confidence after a number of shaky performances post-lockdown.
Brought in with little notice after Hause was injured late in the warm-up. Whilst we know Elmo’s limitations, he again reminded us of what his domestic and international experience and, in particular, his delivery can do. Both Samatta and Grealish found themselves on the end of superb crosses in the first half, begging the question, why have we been so reluctant to use Elmohamady for his creative strengths??
Seemed a little uneasy at times and had Mings to thank for clearing up on occasion. Felled by Wilfred Zaha that resulted in handbags between the teams – Konsa had though been cynically tripped. Konsa will wonder how he didn’t score in the second half, forcing the visitors into fashioning a scrambled goal-line clearance. A likeable character in the defence who gave his all.
A good overall display from the England international, certainly improved on midweek. Piled in after Konsa’s was tripped by Zaha and always barking orders from the back. Sent Konsa to chase a wayward pass in the first half, showing that sometimes his concentration can wander. Mings covers lots of ground, is happy to mix things up physically and matched Benteke and Ayew all afternoon.
A little more at the races, but only in bursts today. This was best evidenced in the first half as he seized upon a loose ball, only to over-hit a pass that would’ve played Trezeguet in on goal. Whilst more game time and match fitness is welcome, still far from the engine in midfield that we could urgently use.
Douglas Luiz (MOTM)
Another really eye-catching performance and a game he really grew into. Kept the ball moving and was a nuisance all across the midfield for Palace. Luiz’s pass and move ability is superb and the Brazilian continues to excel. The most improved and consistent since the Premier League resumed, it was no surprise therefore that he was central to Villa’s victory today. A joy to watch at times.
Took a little while to get going but this display developed into a standout performance. As with Elmohamady, on these showings you have to wonder whether it’s a matter of individual consistency or Villa not picking the right players for the job at hand. Hourihane was dangerous around the box, involved in the goals and went near himself with a trademark freekick bending around the wall to the keeper’s near post. A really hard working tenacious display, with good overall end product that meant we carried a forward threat from midfield.
It appeared that this was going to be another head-scratching performance from the Egyptian, with a number of poor passages of play in the first half. Indeed, it wouldn’t have been beyond the realms of possibility to see him subbed. However, his fortunes and performance turned on their head in first half injury time with a cool far post finish from a Hourihane free-kick. Definitely livelier in the second half, maybe through a lift in confidence, but both his work-rate and movement were visibly better. Got a deserved second at a crucial time, slotting the ball calmly underneath the Palace keeper. Neither goals were straightforward finishes, who knows how valuable they could ultimately be?
Jack Grealish (Captain)
A much improved display compared to Thursday night’s anonymous performance against Man United (0-3). Looked far better for being away from the touchline, maruading centrally towards the final third and inviting fouls in dangerous positions. Naive to go down looking for a penalty in the second half when well placed in the box with Palace retreating. Better.
Another often thankless task as a lone striker, but full of energy today. Whilst difficult to fault Samatta for work-rate, chances were few and far between. This means that opportunities such as the one delivered by Elmohamady in the first half must be taken. Samatta powered his header over the bar, when at the very least should have tested the keeper.
Well, well, well. Hasn’t everything just got a little more interesting?
Villa were victorious over a poor Crystal Palace side with goals from Mahmoud Trezeguet the difference between the two sides.
After a Mamadou Sakho goal was ruled out fortuitously ruled out for handball (?) by VAR, Villa gradually took the initiative and dominated large passages on the game.
Douglas Luiz, excellent in a dismal Villa side since the Premier League’s resumption, took on another level. The Brazilian is beginning to display the type of form that makes it more apparent why Pep Guardiola was so annoyed at having lost him.
We also finally showed a little grit. Tyrone Mings was quite happy to mix it up with Zaha and Palace after a cynical trip on Konsa in the first half, for instance. Conor Hourihane was tenacious.
The midfield overall was much better. Hourihane, who has has been used sparingly of late, was tidy in midfield whilst offering us something from set-pieces (finally). Grealish, more advanced, a nuisance. McGinn, had bursts in his and can consider this more rehabilitation from injury.
The surprise? Trezeguet. The Egyptian was having a stinker until his goal, with little going right for him. Having reached the point of needing wins by any means, his two goals, both well taken, could prove invaluable.
This is without doubt a big, big result. The job is far from done, but we live to fight another day. Roll on Everton this Thursday.
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