Crystal Palace 3-1 Aston Villa: Wilfried Zaha & Ebere Eze shine in routine win

Zaha was a cut above the rest
Zaha was a cut above the rest / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Crystal Palace soared to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Villa were ahead inside the opening five minutes through Ollie Watkins, but the superb Wilfried Zaha tied things up moments later and Palace never looked back, with the Ivorian grabbing a second after the break before Jean-Phillipe Mateta finished off the scoring.

It looked like the game could go in a different direction just five minutes in as a long ball from Tyrone Mings was smartly flicked on by Leon Bailey into the path of Watkins striker, who flashed his composure to fire home.

The celebrations hadn't even stopped by the time Zaha levelled things up two minutes later.

The Palace man led a counter from the half-way line and drove right into the Villa box, weaving past Ezri Konza to fire across the goal and into the bottom corner.

Palace thought they had the lead 26 minutes in when Odsonne Edouard did well to drill a ball into the box and Schlupp did the rest, but VAR came to spoil the fun with a tight offside call against the Frenchman.

The goal may not have stood, but it energised Palace and the hosts started to take control. Zaha was a real danger, constantly driving at Villa's back line and causing plenty of problems.

With the first half winding down, Emiliano Martinez was on hand to keep out Jordan Ayew, before Villa went right down the other end and Emiliano Buendia drew a great save from Vicente Guaita.

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Bailey kicked the second half off by thundering the crossbar, but that was as good as it got for Villa as some woeful defending saw Palace remain on top with very little ease. Zaha and Ebere Eze made this look like a training ground game at times.

Villa's incompetence gifted Palace plenty of chances but it was VAR who handed out the decisive one. A handball from Lucas Digne was spotted and a penalty awarded, and after Zaha saw his effort superbly saved by Martinez, the Ivorian strolled onto the rebound and made no mistake this time around.

Keeping possession was a massive problem for Villa, with Martinez in particular giving the ball away repeatedly in an attempt to build out from the back, preventing the visitors from getting back into the game.

Things went from bad to worse for Villa as substitute Mateta made it 3-1 with his first touch. A sumptuous cross from Tyrick Mitchell landed right on the striker's boot and Mateta thundered the ball into the back of the net to put Palace out of sight.

There could have been a fourth in stoppage time when Will Hughes of all people wandered behind the disappearing Villa defence, but the midfielder couldn't get past Martinez and Villa had to settle for three instead.

Player of the Match: Wilfried Zaha