Five key talking points as Villa battle to important win over Palace

After securing a much-needed win and clean sheet at home, Aston Villa made it back-to-back wins as we look to build another important run of form.

Joachim Andersen’s own goal was the difference between the two sides as Villa overcame Crystal Palace in a scrappy 1-0 victory, but given our recent results at Villa Park, it was a welcome outcome.

READ MORE: Villa player ratings vs Crystal Palace: McGinn, Cash key in scrappy win

Unai Emery was left bitterly disappointed after we suffered consecutive 4-2 defeats at home against Leicester City and Arsenal, and so this was an important game as we needed to show improvement and understanding of the demands being asked by the Villa boss.

Fortunately, we got the result we wanted. Although there are still key areas in which we need to still improve, the upward trend continues after our win at Everton last weekend, and now we head to West Ham next Sunday looking to continue this run.

Emery gets response to demand for more control, game-management

The Villa boss again spoke at length this week about wanting to see his side exercise more control over proceedings on a consistent basis over the 90 minutes.

He also discussed game-management when we go ahead, and so the fact that we were able to see out the game, keep a clean sheet and secure all three points was exactly what he would have wanted to see.

Now, we certainly could have been more convincing and ruthless to make it more comfortable, but compared to the way we played against Leicester and Arsenal, this was more measured and mature. Now we have to show more quality and consistency.

Crucial home clean sheet and win

After eight goals conceded in two home games, coupled with three away at Man City in between, there was a real disappointment about how our defensive performances had fallen off.

We rediscovered that strong core and grit last week at Everton to keep a clean sheet, but this one was equally as important as we needed a shut-out at home to build on and ultimately win the game.

Villa have been far too open, naive and prone to costly errors in home games recently. While we’re continuing to impress on the road, it’s vital we get it right at Villa Park too as we look to climb the table.

Kamara injury scare

There was one sour note from the game, and that was the injury suffered by Boubacar Kamara and the concern currently surrounding it.

It was an awful foul from Doucoure, but it was the Frenchman’s immediate reaction that caught the eye initially as he instantly signalled to the bench to get on and provide treatment.

He wasn’t able to apply any pressure on his ankle as he left the pitch, and it’s really hoped that it isn’t as bad as first feared as we await results of a scan now to determine the extent of the problem.

McGinn influence growing

From his key pass to Matty Cash in the build-up to the goal to the consistency in breaking into the box and offering an attacking threat, John McGinn’s influence is steadily growing in his new role on the right side of midfield.

His tenacity and work ethic was key in helping us get a foothold in the game and start to control things, but it’s those important moments where he is capable of making a decisive impact that are standing out.

The Scottish international spoke prior to Saturday about how it’s 45 games since he last scored and he is desperate to get his numbers up. While he’ll be disappointed with his finishing, this was another big step in the right direction for him since returning from injury.

Cash doing well after winning place back

Given his limited role after the World Cup coupled with Ashley Young’s positive impact, there were concerns over Cash and his ability to adapt and prove himself under Emery.

However, after winning his place back against Arsenal, he has steadily started to improve and play an important role with his energy and tenacity down that right flank.

Defensively he was sound on Saturday against a potentially dangerous Palace attack, and he showed good intent and energy to get forward to force the own goal in a decisive impact. It’s good to see him showing positive signs under Emery after reports suggested in January he was struggling to convince the Spaniard.

Leave a Reply