Aston Villa bottled a lead twice to allow Crystal Palace to come back and snatch all three points.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa travelled to Selhurst Park this afternoon for the reverse fixture against Crystal Palace, with Tyrone Mings and Matty Cash missing after the injuries sustained midweek against Everton. Ahmed Elmohamady and Kortney Hause would come in as replacements, while Jacob Ramsey came in as Ross Barkley dropped to the bench.
The opening two minutes saw Jacob Ramsey almost curl an effort into the top right of Jack Butland’s net, but the youngster’s effort just fizzed wide.
Just before the ten minute mark, and Kortney Hause almost picked up another goal against Crystal Palace, rising the highest to meet a corner and heading just wide of Butland’s net.
In the 15th minute Ollie Watkins forced Jack Butland into a reaching save, as Aston Villa continued to dominate proceedings at Selhurst Park. The resulting corner was found by Hause again, but his attempt went wide again.
Two minutes later, and captain-for-the-day John McGinn opened the scoring. A poor clearance from Palace found McGinn outside the edge of the box, before he passed it into the bottom left of Butland’s goal – with a little help from the post on the way.
In the 31st, it was Christian Benteke who would equalise for Crystal Palace, rising the highest, soaring like an Eagle over a flat-footed Kortney Hause to head past a rooted Emiliano Martinez. A poor goal to concede after Aston Villa allowed Palace back into the game after going ahead.
It took just two minutes for Aston Villa to be back ahead. Watkins headed a loose ball after Kouyate had hoofed it into the air, which found Anwar El Ghazi at the back post. The Dutchman fired hard and low towards to Butland, outfoxing the keeper and finding the back of the net.
Both sides dropped effort-levels seemingly, but Aston Villa still looked the most likely to effect the game heading towards the half time whistle.
After two minutes of added time, Aston Villa went in at the break ahead.
Aston Villa started the second half the most aggressive of the two sides.
John McGinn, the first goal scorer in this tie, picked up a yellow card in the 50th minute as he made a cynical foul on Eberechi Eze as the youngster looked to break into the Villa half.
Just before the hour mark, after a period of prolonged possession for Crystal Palace, Christian Benteke almost grabbed a second if it wasn’t for Emiliano Martinez and the woodwork. A let-off for Aston Villa.
In the 63rd minute, Bertrand Traore made way for club captain Jack Grealish who made his latest step on the road to recovery following his shin injury.
Ollie Watkins forced Butland into a strong save with his feet in the 74th minute, but the striker was flagged offside once the ball rolled out of play for what would have been a corner.
Just a minute later, and Zaha found his way into the Aston Villa box, striking towards goal and deflecting the ball off Ahmed Elmohamady and into the Villa net. A stroke of luck for Palace as Aston Villa looked to let another lead slip. Scores level.
With nine minutes to go, Palace almost took the lead through a curled effort from outside of the box. Eze almost will a goal-of-the-season contender that was saved by the woodwork. Six minutes before time – and they did take the lead, as Aston Villa’s defence failed to clear their lines, Eze poked a ball towards goal which Tyreik Mitchell managed to poke into the net via his chest.
A poor performance, ultimately, where Aston Villa lost their lead twice.