Gerrard outshines Vieira as Palace are shocked 2-1 by Aston Villa with their home record gone
Crystal Palace’s run of seven games without losing in the Premier League came to a chastening end as Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa edged to a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park.
Goals at opposing ends of the game from Matt Targett and John McGinn enabled new boss Gerrard to maintain a 100%
winning record and lay down an early marker against Vieira.
Marc Guehi pulled one back in the 95th minute when he poked home Cheikhou Kouyate’s low cross but it was too little too late.
This was just the first of many battles lying in store between two talented managers like Vieira and Gerrard, who are destined to go head-to-head for many years to come.
Villa made a mockery of Paul Merson’s prediction that they would end up on the losing side, becoming the first side to defeat the Eagles on their shores this season.
To turn a shambolic Villa side around in less than two weeks, you could be forgiven for thinking that new boss Gerrard has the magic wand. Not that Palace underperformed, but they were not as adventurous and ruthless as they were when they delivered a heroic performance to beat Man City last month.
Dominant Aston Villa were up and running in an action-packed first half.
And the goal came from an unlikely source as Targett capitalised on some abysmal Crystal Palace defending to keep his composure and strike a clean half-volley into the back of the net through the middle after 15 minutes.
James Tomkins, who deputised for Joachim Andersen, was caught out by Ashley Young’s corner and the ball dropped to the former Fulham left-back who made no mistakes to score his first goal of the Premier League campaign.
The goal came four minutes after Wilfried Zaha dragged a shot wide with the Ivorian sublimely feinting past two Aston Villa defenders with remarkable pace before his end product let him down.
Palace then had a chance to equalise but Christian Benteke, finally provided with some rare service to feed off, headed over before McGinn’s lovely curled finish missed the top corner by an inch four minutes later.
Palace enjoyed plenty of possession in Villa’s box throughout the first half but Patrick Vieira’s men were crying out for some invention from their main men Zaha, Michael Oliseh and Conor Gallagher. Villa, still feeling the positive effects of Steven Gerrard’s arrival, superbly closed them down. The Birmingham outfit were a good unit, tight and compact.
Vieira tried to turn things around in the second half, bringing on Eberechi Eze. The former QPR star would have wished for a different result to mark his return from a ruptured Achilles, which he sustained in training in May.
And maybe it was too early to ask him to stretch the game and open Villa up.
Palace had chances to get back on level terms but Benteke first fired a lame acrobatic effort into Emiliano Martinez’s arms before Odsonne Edouard did not do much better seconds later.
Martinez also spilled a cross from a corner but unfortunately for Palace it did not drop to any of their players.
Villa then ventured forward and sealed the win when Anwar El Ghazi laid the ball off to McGinn who scored a screamer from the edge of the box.
But there was not enough time for any potential Palace revival to gather pace despite Guehi’s flicked finish deep into stoppage time.
Signs of recovery from Aston Villa and just a bad day at the office for the Eagles, who had been punching above their weight for quite some time.