·28 November 2021
·28 November 2021
Aston Villa made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time this season with an impressive performance at Selhurst Park.
Steven Gerrard said after the 2-0 win at home to Brighton that his team needed to, “Back it up” and the Villans duly delivered with arguably their best performance of the season, looking relatively comfortable for the majority of the game.
Crystal Palace were given little time to settle on the ball and the effort levels and determination was shown from every player in a Villa shirt as everyone contributed in some shape or form.
Villa made only two changes to the starting line up as Leon Bailey and Ashley came in for Emi Buendia and Danny Ings. Marvelous Nakamba started ahead of Douglas Luiz for a second game in a row despite the Brazilian returning from injury.
Tactically, it was a very astute performance and Gerrard’s game plan was evident from the off as the team remained compact and players were always on hand to support one another in midfield.
Jacob Ramsey worked incredibly hard for just over an hour, often carrying the ball through the middle of the park and sparking attacks.
John McGinn was a menace as was given the chance to push forward into the CAM role more often and Marvelous Nakamba repeatedly broke up play in Villa’s own half to regain possession and his passing was excellent and most importantly consistent in its accuracy.
The midfield and front line worked tirelessly to press Palace back and to win the ball higher up the park and subsequently the defence and Emi Martinez were not tested as often as expected by Patrick Vieira’s men who were unbeaten at home and in seven home and away before the game with Villa.
Ashley Young led by example and it certainly did not look like a 36 that was taking on Joel Ward. His direct play and set pieces caused trouble and his corner was put away by Matt Targett to give Villa the lead.
Villa created several attacks and at times caused panic in the Eagles back line.
However, Villa battled throughout a tricky 25 minutes in the second half and Gerrard’s substitutions all helped to give Villa a two goal lead late on.
Douglas Luiz, who was early sent off only for a VAR review to change the decision to a yellow card, played the ball out to Matt Targett and some fine work between Anwar El Ghazi and Emi Buendia saw a one-two on the edge of the Palace box before John McGinn hit a first-time, curling shot past Vicente Guaita to the delight of the away contingent.
Crystal Palace would provide a nervy finish for Villa as Marc Guehi would pinch a 95th minute consolation goal as he diverted home a good cross from Cheikhou Kouyate.
Six points from six for Steven Gerrard and a real team performance.
Aston Villa vs Manchester City
Wednesday 1st December (8:15pm kick off)
Villa face a tough test midweek as they welcome high-flying Manchester City to Villa Park.
All of the talk will inevitably switch to the return of Jack Grealish and whether he will play or not but under Gerrard the talk has been purely about preparation and focus at the job at hand and the fans need to get behind the players under the lights and play their part.
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