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Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace 22/23

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

On Saturday 4th March 2023, we made the 153 mile journey to Birmingham to watch Aston Villa host Crystal Palace at Villa Park. It was a 3pm kick off but we left at 9am to ensure we got there in good time, as you can probably imagine, we arrived VERY early but thankfully the carpark was open so could get settled and explore Villa. When we was walking round to where the buses came in we were approached by a security guard who said he would get me to the front. All the staff at Aston Villa were excellent and were on hand to help with anything we needed.

The view from the disabled seats were great, they were located pitch side like at Selhurst park and was directly opposite the tunnel. The only negatives were that there was a handrail on our left so blocked a section of the pitch at the other end, thankfully there were large screens to watch parts out of sight. As we were pitch side the security were sitting in front of us and as the game came to a close they stood up blocking the view, the Aston villa staff were again helpful and cleared the blockages where they could!

The home side and today's opponents were coming into the game 11th in the Premier League table, just one position above Palace with a four point advantage. Villa’s last result was a 2-0 victory against Everton, but prior to this lost their previous three, conceding over 2 in each, granted two of those results were against Arsenal and Manchester City. The home side have also scored in their passed 16 games, so evidently posed threats in the attacking phases since the introduction of new manager Unai Emery in October 2022.

Palace came into the game off the back of a home draw against Liverpool where they again showed many positives, but they are still hunting for the first win of the year.

Patrick Vieira made two changes to the line-up, this saw Eberechi Eze and returning from injury Wilfried Zaha re-enter in replace of Jeffery Schlupp and Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Football is a cruel game: Crystal Palace go another week without a victory as a Joachim Andersen first half own goal gift Aston Villa the three points.

With the reintroduction of Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha, Palace were hoping for a more positive attacking threat. Just four minutes into the game they were both heavily involved; Eze took the ball greatly into his stride before playing Zaha through in behind towards goal. Zaha too took the ball in his stride, dribbling around the keeper before finally putting the ball into the back of the net.

The Eagles’ celebrations were cut short after VAR intervened expressing Zaha was just offside; taking the score back to 0-0.

After not being able to capitalise on the early opportunity, Palace were punished with Aston Villa getting the first legitimate goal. It came from Palace’s own Joachim Andersen, he slide across the face of goal to block Ollie Watkins meeting the end of Matty Cash’s cross, but he was only able to direct it past Vicente Guaita and into the back of his own net.

Palace really struggled to contain Villa with the home team given lots of space and time to create chances. Just before half time Watkins almost made his teams lead double, but his shot was fired just wide of the post, the Villa fans prematurely celebrated before realising he had missed.

The momentum of the second half swung towards Villa after the dismissal of Cheick Doucoure on the hour mark, after two careless quick succession yellow cards. The home team had a strong grip on the possession of the game as they searched to extend their lead.

Palace was becoming seemingly frustrated as Patrick Vieira looked to his bench for a way back into the game. Three out of the four attacking players were replaced (Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise, and Jordan Ayew by Jean-Philippe Mateta, Will Hughes and Naouirou Ahamada), although these changes failed to make a real impact.

John McGinn forced a good low save from Guaita after Leon Bailey crossed it into his path.

The visitors seemed to increase the intensity in the final 15 minutes but failed to find an equalising goal, leaving Villa Park extending their 9 game run without a win.

It was a very frustrating watch as a Palace fan with the lack of enthusiasm and creativity quality on show. They’re slipping down the table and are now only five points off the relegation zone with some tough fixtures coming up, it’s a very worrying time to be a Palace fan and we can only hope Viera relights the players motivation.

The way home was almost double the journey up as it took two hours to get out the stadium alone, if you’re planning on traveling up to Villa by car I’d definitely recommend parking away from the stadium, rather then the designated car parks, and just walking up as it will save so much time!

Palace’s next game is home to Manchester City on the 11th of March, another tough battle, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx


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