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Aston Villa vs Crystal Palace 23/24

Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all well.

On Saturday 16th September 2023, Crystal Palace travelled away to Aston Villa’s Villa Park for a Premier League fixture. This season I opted to take the train to Birmingham, the journey was pretty smooth with trains from Euston and Birmingham New Street all being accessible and got me to a five minute walk to the stadium.

Before the international break Palace’s last match was a thrilling 3-2 win at home to Wolverhampton, so would’ve been hoping to build on this result.

Aston Villa, however, suffered a heavy 3-0 defeat against Liverpool before the break. Though the side who managed to qualify for the Europa Conference League beat Hibernian 8-0 on aggregate, and also got big wins over Everton and Burnley so weren’t a team to dismiss.

Unfortunately Roy Hodgson was unable to attend the game due to illness, but he was in contact with Paddy McCarthy, who along with Ray Lewington took the team. During the break many Palace players were on duty with their country with Ebere Eze and Marc Guehi getting minutes for England, unfortunately the latter got injured in the game against Scotland so was unavailable for selection. The other forced change was from a similar matter with Jefferson Lerma getting injured whilst playing for Colombia. The two players were replaced by Chris Richards and Will Hughes in the first changed lineup of the season.

Despite taking the lead first, Crystal Palace suffered a 3-1 defeat away to Aston Villa after heartbreak in added time.

The start of the game was slow with neither team creating any chances, but it was the home side who had most of the possession.

Villa also had the first clear chance presented to them as Ollie Watkins picked up a loose ball near the box, his first time shot was on target but Sam Johnstone got down well to prevent an early goal.

Palace were forced into an early substitution as Jordan Ayew went off injured, he was replaced by Jean Philippe Mateta.

Villa continued to dominate possession but Palace did have small waves of counterattacks, though the home side remained resilient not letting them through.

The team in Claret and Blue briefly took the lead after Moussa Diaby put the ball in the back of the net, but a VAR check ruled him offside.

A common theme for Palace has been their improvement in the second half, this game was no different with the Eagles coming out from the break and had the lead within just two minutes.

Mateta used his strength to get away from his man and his pace to burst down the wing, he delivered a fantastic ball to an on running Odsonne Edouard and with his first touch he buried the ball into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season. An already loud away end erupted as their number 22 celebrated in front of them.

With the momentum swinging their way Palace came close through their captain Joel Ward. Ebere Eze’s high corner was headed back across goal by Joachim Andersen into the path of Ward, but couldn’t direct it goal-wards instead going wide of the far post.

The game became very open with end to end football on show. Trying to find a way past the strong Palace back line and blocks from Tyrick Mitchell and Will Hughes, Watkins’ eventual attempt was kept out by the woodwork and out of play off the head of Johnstone.

Villa managed to find the equaliser through a moment of brilliance from Jhon Durán. The substitute received the ball from a cross field pass by Lucas Digne, he took the ball down on his chest before finishing it into the back of the net with a half volley into the roof of the net.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in additional time as Villa upped their energy. Chris Richards tried to retrieve the ball from Watkins, but the Villa striker went to ground and despite the defender getting to the ball a lengthy VAR check decided it was a penalty. Douglas Luiz stepped up and converted in the 90+7th minute.

As Palace hunted for the equaliser deep in stoppage time they left their goal exposed, a long ball up field to Diaby allowed him to find Leon Bailey free in the box, who sealed the win with the third and final goal. The game ended 3-1.

A very difficult ending to watch after a better start to the second half, but Villa were just too strong. The penalty decision was in my opinion incorrect as Chris Richards got a foot to the ball, and that was the start of the downfall with the Palace players seeming still frustrated from that decision. Before that the second half was much better for Palace, but in the first the defenders did really well to keep the clean sheet after the near constant pressure, I think Richards had a solid game it’s just a shame he was on the other end of the penalty decision.

Palace will be looking to bounce back next week with their game at home against Fulham, look out for that post!

Thanks for reading

Ellie Xx


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