Aston Villa battled to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, with a Joachim Andersen own goal splitting the two sides in a scrappy encounter.
Given our recent home form, the clean sheet and three points would have been welcomed with open arms by Unai Emery, who saw his side control and manage the game better than in previous outings.
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While we certainly weren’t anywhere near our best, it was a gritty performance that could have been more comfortable had we been ruthless in front of goal with the openings that we did create.
However, we were forced to battle until the end to hold out for the victory, and that’s now back-to-back wins and hopefully a solid foundation on which we can continue to put a good run of form together in the coming weeks.
Aston Villa player ratings vs Crystal Palace:
Emi Martinez, 6.5 – Another clean sheet as although he didn’t have a great deal to do with Palace failing to register a single effort on target, he organised the backline well, rushed out when needed and collected balls into the box comfortably.
Matty Cash, 7 – Put in a solid defensive shift, and delivered the crucial ball across the box that forced Andersen into the mistake and subsequent own goal. Has done well since winning his place back.
Ezri Konsa, 7 – Did a good job in marshalling the backline and limiting the threat of a dangerous Palace attack with their energy and movement. Almost got caught out for the goal, but the eventual offside decision saved us in an early warning sign.
Tyrone Mings, 7 – Similar to Konsa in that he was commanding at the back for the most part to help us keep a hard-fought clean sheet. Had a couple of wobbly moments but all-in-all, a positive impact in our improved defensive display at home.
Alex Moreno, 7 – Showed really good intent down the left flank and was a constant threat in the first half. Did a decent job, albeit he could have been more decisive with his final ball, and Emery was visibly frustrated with him at one point in the opening 45 minutes while he was replaced after 70.
John McGinn, 7.5 – Played a vital role in the midfield scrap to give us a foothold and control of the game. Put himself about as he so often does and got the crowd up at times, but he added the brilliant pass to cut through the Palace defence to find Cash in the lead up to the goal, and although he will be frustrated with his finishing, had a couple of decent chances after breaking into the box.
Douglas Luiz, 7 – Put in a decent shift again as he kept things ticking over with composure on the ball and controlling possession for us. Almost got caught out in the first half, but was positive for the most part.
Boubacar Kamara, 6 – A real concern over his injury now as he immediately signalled to the bench after an awful foul from Doucoure. Replay looked horrible as his ankle was bent awkwardly, and while he couldn’t initially put any pressure on it, it’s hoped that it’s not as serious as it first looked. Prior to that, continued to play an important role with Luiz in the heart of the Villa midfield.
Jacob Ramsey, 6 – Looked a little unsure of himself today as he showed glimpses of his quality with his driving runs, but then was too indecisive on the ball for the most part. Was replaced with 20 minutes left, and so he’ll know he has to produce more to keep his place.
Emiliano Buendia, 7 – Really unfortunate not to come away with at least an assist as he played an excellent ball into Watkins who couldn’t finish before the break. Was lively throughout, linking our play together in the final third with his impressive movement and technical quality, but didn’t get the reward for it on this occasion.
Ollie Watkins, 7 – Worked hard as he always does both defensively and in offering movement up top to provide an option to his teammates. Showed his resilience and work ethic in the first half after winning the ball near our own box before bursting forward and winning a free-kick in a dangerous area. Will be disappointed though, as he had a great chance to make it six in six but sent his effort wide of the post after a brilliant first touch following a lovely Buendia through ball.
Calum Chambers, 6 – Did well to steady us in midfield after the Kamara injury blow. Helped us see the game out and secure the three points.
Leon Bailey, 5.5 – Added a threat on the counter attack and almost grabbed an assist for McGinn, but too often also chose the wrong option and lost possession easily.
Lucas Digne, 6 – Another one who almost got an assist for McGinn but his teammate couldn’t find the finish. Again, did well to help us see out the game.
Jhon Duran, N/A