Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa: Player ratings as Steven Gerrard continues fine start

John McGinn sealed the victory with a late goal
John McGinn sealed the victory with a late goal / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Aston Villa inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Crystal Palace, winning 2-1 at Selhurst Park and making it two victories from two for new manager Steven Gerrard.

Matt Targett scored an early opener from a corner for the visitors, before John McGinn sealed the victory with a fine late goal. Marc Guehi did pull one back for Palace in stoppage time but it was too little too late.

Despite a bright start that saw Wilfried Zaha get a clear sight of goal 11 minutes in, only to drag his shot wide, Palace struggled to make a telling attacking impact throughout.

They were too determined to play through the middle when the space was out wide and were frustrated as a well-drilled Villa side worked hard to congest the centre of the pitch.

Palace were weak at set-pieces and there were several warning signs throughout the first half. A set-piece was also where the breakthrough goal came from, with Eagles centre-backs James Tomkins and Guehi both drawn to aerial danger man Tyrone Mings, leaving Targett free behind them to drill the ball into the far corner.

The hosts appeared with renewed vigour after the interval, although Ashley Young skimmed the top of the crossbar from a free-kick that could have doubled Villa’s lead.

Palace were still sloppy in midfield, but their attacking improvement unsurprisingly coincided with Zaha and Conor Gallagher getting more on the ball - one devilish cross from the latter almost forced an own goal after a mix-up in the Villa six-yard box.

Even though Palace were controlling more of the ball, Villa still looked relatively comfortable – it wasn’t until the 80th minute that the hosts had their first shot on target.

That comfort could have changed when substitute Douglas Luiz was shown a straight red card for a collision with Cheikhou Kouyate, but replays showed he hadn’t made dangerous contact and it was rescinded to yellow when VAR got involved.

The result was secured when McGinn stroked in Villa’s second from the edge of the penalty area after neat interplay on the left from substitutes Anwar El Ghazi and Emiliano Buendia.

Guehi was able to turn in Cheikhou Kouyate’s cross in stoppage time.

Crystal Palace player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Palace conceded two goals
Palace conceded two goals / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Vicente Guaita (GK) - 5/10 - Stood little chance with either Villa goal.

Joel Ward (RB) - 6/10 - Ensured Villa didn't have too many major threats from open play down his side.

James Tomkins (CB) - 5/10 - Seemed to get but lost under the ball for the opening goal and generally looked a little of out sync with is colleagues.

Marc Guehi (CB) - 6/10 - Scored for the second week running, although it proved to be just a consolation.

Tyrick Mitchell (LB) - 7/10 - Got forward well to good effect after half-time, supporting Zaha and forcing Villa back on that side.

2. Midfielders

Conor Gallagher was Palace's best creative player
Conor Gallagher was Palace's best creative player / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Conor Gallagher (CM) - 7/10 - A livewire again. Used the ball better than his teammates, particularly when he drifted out wide.

Luka Milivojevic (CM) - 5/10 - Lost the midfield battle. Took a yellow card when he desperately scythed down Watkins on the edge of the penalty area. Substituted after an hour in favour of an attacking change.

Cheikhou Kouyate (CM) - 6/10 - Got too bogged down in physical battles. His quality cross for the Palace goal was what had been lacking all game, but it probably should have been someone else's job to do it.

3. Forwards

Christian Benteke didn't get enough service
Christian Benteke didn't get enough service / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/GettyImages

Michael Olise (RW) - 5/10 - Started brightly in the opening minutes but faded from the game and was only really seen in flashes thereafter.

Christian Benteke (ST) - 5/10 - Muscled off the ball by Mings when he had the opportunity to get in at goal in the first half. Made himself a decent chance later on but lacked service generally.

Wilfried Zaha (LW) - 6/10 - Fired a good chance wide early and was quickly made to regret it as Villa soon took the lead. Not involved consistently.

4. Substitutes

Ebere Eze (AM) - 5/10 - Received a warm welcome on his return from long-term injury. His impact was understandably limited.

Odsonne Edouard (ST) - 6/10 - Gave Palace a double-pronged attack but could only manage one relatively tame shot on target.

Jordan Ayew (RW) - N/A - Arrived in the final moments.

Aston Villa player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Matt Targett got the ball rolling for Villa
Matt Targett got the ball rolling for Villa / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Emiliano Martinez (GK) - 5/10 - Didn't have loads to do because Palace struggled to get their shots off, although did get away with a flap at a cross in the second half.

Matty Cash (RB) - 6/10 - Had to be very mindful of Mitchell's bursts forward, which meant he struggled to attack much himself. Defended well, though.

Ezri Konsa (CB) - 7/10 - Probably could have done more to prevent the consolation goal but was good until then and it didn't make a difference.

Tyrone Mings (CB) - 7/10 - His presence in the Palace box caused enough defensive panic to directly contribute to the opener. Strong defensively.

Matt Targett (LB) - 7/10 - Drilled finish to score the first goal and kept the potentially dangerous Olise in check on that side.

6. Midfielders

Marvelous Nakamba was excellent in his defensive midfield role
Marvelous Nakamba was excellent in his defensive midfield role / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

John McGinn (CM) - 8/10 - Box to box energy gave Villa a lot. Narrowly missed with a curling effort in the first half but sealed the win with a really good finished in the closing stages.

Marvelous Nakamba (CM) - 8/10 - Disrupted Palace really well in the centre of the pitch. Took a yellow card for his troubles.

Jacob Ramsey (AM) - 7/10 - Played well linking midfield and attack.

7. Forwards

Ollie Watkins had two penalty appeals turned down
Ollie Watkins had two penalty appeals turned down / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Leon Bailey (RW) - 5/10 - Not really his afternoon.

Ollie Watkins (ST) - 6/10 - Appealed for three penalties over the 90 minutes. Worked hard in the 'number nine' role all afternoon.

Ashley Young (LW) - 7/10 - Whipped a dangerous ball into the box that resulted in Villa taking the lead. Later skimmed the top of the bar with a free-kick, while he pressed covered well off the ball.

8. Substitutes

VAR ensured Douglas Luiz wasn't sent off
VAR ensured Douglas Luiz wasn't sent off / Clive Rose/GettyImages

Douglas Luiz (CM) - 6/10 - Shown a straight red card but VAR correctly intervened to force the referee to rethink the poor original decision.

Anwar El Ghazi (LW) - 7/10 - Assisted the second goal.

Emiliano Buendia (AM) - 7/10 - Also involved in the interplay to work the opportunity for McGinn to score the second.

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