A brace from Wilfried Zaha helped Crystal Palace to a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa, claiming their first Premier League win of the new season.
It was an entertaining encounter from the start in a sunny park in Selhurst as Ollie Watkins (5) fired Aston Villa ahead. Leon Bailey nodded a long pass into the striker’s path, and he made no mistakes shooting past Vicente Guaita.
But the Crystal Palace keeper was rarely tested from there, and Crystal Palace fought back quickly. Zaha (7) escaped from the halfway line before entering the box and moving coolly past Emiliano Martinez.
The Eagles thought they had taken the lead at the end of the first half when Jeffrey Sclupp fired home after Odsonne Edouard was reduced, but VAR deemed Edouard offside from the free-kick initial.
After Bailey hit the woodwork early in the second half, Crystal Palace quickly had a second that mattered, with VAR once again involved. Lucas Digne was penalized for handball after a Marc Guehi header – skillfully saved by Martinez – hit his raised arm.
Referee Andy Madley awarded the penalty after checking the pitchside monitor, with Zaha lining up the kick. His initial effort was saved by Martinez – who, despite the scoreline, had an impressive game – but his save didn’t go far enough as Zaha grabbed the rebound easily (58).
Crystal Palace looked dangerous with every attack and added their third with one of the game’s moves. It was a sumptuous heel from Zaha that saw Tyrick Mitchell explode on the left wing, from a sparkling cross returned home by a slipped Jean-Philippe Mateta (71st), the striker’s first touch as a substitute .
The win sees Crystal Palace register their first three points of the season, following their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday night football. However, Aston Villa – without defensive summer signing Diego Carlos – were unable to capitalize on the momentum of their maiden win against Everton last weekend.
How the Eagles flew past Villa
The first half was a breathless affair as Zaha quickly canceled out Watkins’ opener. After their equaliser, Palace began to find their attacking marks, although Schlupp’s goal to see the hosts up front was ruled out for offside.
Crystal Palace continued to chase for a second, but ran into the resolute Martinez. Just after Schlupp’s disallowed goal, the keeper denied Edouard at the near post before Aston Villa transferred the ball to safety.
- Crystal Palace made the only change from their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday Night Football with Nathaniel Clyne falling to the bench, replaced by Odsonne Edouard.
- Aston Villa have made three changes since winning against Everton. Diego Carlos is sidelined with a serious injury, with Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings also falling to the bench. Ezri Konza, Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey entered the XI.
Just before half-time, an unmarked Jordan Ayew drove in a cross from the left, but his shot was denied by a diving Martinez. Vicente Guaita didn’t have much to do for much of the first half but denied Emi Buendia a minute later as the Villa striker sent his shot straight to the Palace stopper.
Villa could have taken the lead six minutes after the break; it was superb play from Bailey down the right with Mitchell doing his best not to foul the striker. However, it allowed Bailey to cut inside before unleashing a thunderous, curling strike towards goal, only to see it hit the top of the crossbar.
But the tide turned in Palace’s favor soon after. Martinez had initially produced a superb save on Guehi’s header, but after a lengthy VAR check, Digne was deemed to have handled the ball. Zaha made sure the hosts’ second counted as he netted the rebound from his own saved penalty.
The hosts continued to push for a third with Villa not offering too much the other way despite introductions from Danny Ings, Philippe Coutinho and Douglas Luiz in the second half.
And Mateta completed the victory after a fine Palace attack to secure a well-deserved victory for the Eagles.
Man of the match – Wilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace: Guaita (6), Ward (7), Andersen (7), Guehi (7), Mitchell (6), Schlupp (7), Eze (7), Doucoure (6), Zaha (8), Edouard (8), Ayew (7).
Submarines used: Olise (6), Mateta (6), Milvojevic (5), Hughes (5), Richards (n/a).
AstonVilla: Martinez (7), Cash (5), Konza (5), Mings (5), Worthy (5), Kamara (5), McGinn (6), Ramsey (5), Buendia (4), Bailey (6), Watkins (6).
Submarines used: Ings (4), Luiz (4), Coutinho (4).
Man of the match: Wilfried Zaha.
With two goals and an integral part of Crystal Palace’s dazzling attacking performance, Zaha wins the applause. His backheel for Mitchell to set up Mateta for the third goal was nothing short of sensational.
Fantasy Premier League Stats
Statistics Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa FPL
|Goals||Watkin; Zaha (2); Mateta|
|Aids||Bailey; Edward; Mitchell|
|Bonus Points||To confirm|
Play Fantasy Premier League and see more stats here
Opta stats – Zaha nets again in 2022
- Crystal Palace have won four of their last six Premier League matches at Selhurst Park (D1 L1), as many wins as in their previous 16 matches in the competition (D7 L5).
- Aston Villa have lost three consecutive away league games for the first time since November 2021 under Dean Smith.
- Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha has scored 12 Premier League goals in 2022, with only Spurs duo Son Heung-min and Harry Kane (15 each) scoring more than the Ivorian in the competition this calendar year.
Both teams are back in the Carabao Cup midweek. Crystal Palace travel to Oxford United on Tuesday before hosting Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday; kick off 3 p.m.
Aston Villa will also play Bolton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday before hosting West Ham in the Premier League next Sunday; kick off 2 p.m.