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Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa 22/23

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

On Saturday 20th of August Palace hosted Aston Villa at Selhurst Park for our third game of the Premier League campaign.

Just six days on from the fantastic 1-1 draw away at Liverpool the team should have come into this game with very high spirits! Aston Villa’s last result saw them come away with the 3 points in a 2-1 victory over Everton, so they too would be high in confidence.

Patrick Vieira only made one change to the team from the Liverpool game which saw Edouard come in to replace Clyne, this changed the formation from a 5-4-1 back to our usual 4-3-3 with Edouard up front. I do think Zaha being the man up top against Liverpool worked very well so is definitely an option for the future. Villa came into the game with one of their key playmakers - Philippe Coutinho - only on the bench after picking up an injury in their last game, this was definitely a positive for us.

It was a 3pm kick off, due to the train strikes I expected it to be slightly less busy, but it was still packed, and the atmosphere was fantastic. Zaha received a warm welcome following the Liverpool game where he got himself on the scoresheet with a great finish!

Palace had an early chance with Ayew picking up a poor Villa pass near our attacking box, he was unable to capitalise as he didn’t pass and chose to go alone ending with a loss of possession. Safe to say Zaha was not happy with him! Unfortunately, we were punished within 5 minutes, we were behind to an Ollie Watkins goal. The build up from us was really poor, one long ball up from their back line was then headed into the path of Watkins who had made a run in between our two centre backs, he wasn’t closed down so had a pretty easy finish into the bottom corner with his first touch. He celebrated in front of the Holmesdale end so he wasn’t our favourite for the rest of the game, and I can’t imagine the rumours of him joining us will materialise now! Even before the game I had a feeling he would be the Aston Villa scorer because he always seems to against us! Only 2 minutes later and we were back in the game! A well timed tackle from Doucoure in our defensive box allowed Schlupp to clear up field finding Edouard for a quick flick on into the path of Zaha, from his own half Zaha ran the whole length towards goal away from the defenders like they weren’t there, he shifted onto his left foot and finally slotted the ball into the far side of the net to put the scores back level! That was the exact response we wanted and needed; Wilf celebrated directly in front of us, so we had a great view! Zaha did well to keep hold of the ball after being pressured by 2 defenders, he got past multiple opposing players and tried to play in Edouard through the middle, his pass was a little too heavily and went straight through to the keeper, I think the better option could’ve been a shot. Zaha and Matty Cash were at each other the whole of the first half, with Zaha coming out on top most of the time. One on occasion we won a free kick, Eze played a great dink to a prepared Edouard, he couldn’t get the shot off so drove to the biline, he played a great pass into Schlupp in the centre of the box who finished the ball into the back of the net. After a VAR check the goal was annoyingly disallowed as Edouard was offside, so the score was back to 1-1. Zaha’s tricky feet caught Cash and Konsa in some trouble as he danced his way through the box, possession was eventually turned over, but he looked like he was enjoying his football! The danger for Villa came down our left mainly via Cash with Tyrick Mitchell under a lot of pressure. We were playing some lovely football absolutely dominating the possession, our final chance of the half dropped to Ayew who was completely unmarked, but his shot was weak giving the keeper an easy save taking us into the break at 1-1.

The second half started with one of Andersen’s classic long balls through the middle found Ayew, he took a good touch, but his shot was straight at the keeper he probably should’ve scored there but it was a good save. In the early stages of the half, it seems like we wanted to walk the ball in rather than just having a shot. Again, more danger went down the left for Villa this time Bailey was allowed to come inside and have a shot, it was just kept out by the bar. Palace had an instant counterattack with Doucoure playing an exceptional ball up to Edouard who was through on goal, he took too long to shoot, and the defender was able to back track and win a free kick. More great football on show, this time a great ball from Andersen found Ayew, he cut inside playing the ball into the centre of the box finding Edouard, his shot just dragged wide. An excellent Eze corner found the head of Guehi at the back post, but his efforts were matched by the keeper. There was a pause in play as VAR checked for a possible penalty, the referee went to the screen and awarded us a pen for handball from Digne. Zaha stepped up to take, his initial attempt was saved but only back into his path allowing him to score the rebound for his second of the game! Eze really deserved a goal, one on occasion he ran past multiple players getting onto a good position, but he just couldn’t find the finish. The first set of substitutions for us saw Mateta and Olise on for Edouard and Ayew who both put a great shift in. This turned out to be a great substitution only 2 minutes later, the ball was crossed into the box perfectly from Mitchell finding Mateta who with his first touch got a fantastic right footed finish past the keeper. He finally got his ‘BOOM’, and we were 3-1 ahead with 20 minutes to play! Mateta nearly got a second after being played in by Eze, but his shot went wide. In the closing stages we allowed Villa to get back into the game by leaving them too much space and time, Dinge was left completely unmarked on countless occasions and we could’ve easily been punished. The next substitutions saw Schlupp and Zaha off for Hughes and Milivojevic, Eze went out onto the left wing. I’m sure Zaha would’ve much rather stayed on and up hunted for his hat trick, but he deserved the break. In a separate pause Chris Richards was brought on for the final few minutes for his Selhurst Park Premier League debut, he replaced Eze who got a standing ovation after an exceptional performance. Hughes had a chance after a good touch, from a great long ball played by Guehi, playing himself into a position to have a shot, it ended up being very simple for the keeper to save. To attempt to stop Olise breaking away Coutinho had to try and take him down, the young winger still managed to wriggle past him and dive down the wing, he’s a player I’m very excited to see at his best! “Ollie, what’s the score?” echoed the stands as the whistle blew ending the game at 3-1 for our first 3 points of the season

What a performance! After conceding first I thought the game was over for us, but I don’t think I could fault any of the players they were incredible both on and off the ball. Eze and Zaha were absolutely insane making Aston Villa look stupid from the 7th minute onwards, both MOTM performances hopefully this form continues! Eberechi looked like he’s back to his pre-injury form looking so confident on the ball, gliding past players and embarrassing his opposition. Another player that looked good was Cheick Doucoure he made some great tackles and seemed like he’s finding his footing in the prem! Our next game is Manchester City away, it’s going to be tough, but their confidence should be really high, and we all know what we’re capable of doing at the Etihad, so fingers crossed!

I had a party straight after the game which is why I wasn't in my Palace top 😅.

The next game I will be attending is against Brentford back at Selhurst in a few weeks, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading,

Ellie Xx


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