Steven Gerrard continued his winning start to life as Aston Villa manager as his team ended Crystal Palace’s seven-game unbeaten run.

The expectations from the clash involving Crystal Palace and Aston Villa were high, and the contest delivered on its promise. Both teams displayed robust characteristics on the field to provide an entertaining encounter, ending with Steven Gerrard’s Villa recording consecutive victories since he took over.

Both sides mirrored each other with the 4-3-3 shape, although Villa started on the front foot. The absence of defender Joachim Andersen was felt heavily by Palace, as Patrick Vieira’s side looked sloppy at the back. Unlike Gerrard’s previous game against Brighton, he set up his side to attack from the start and take the game to their hosts.

After a fierce start, Villa got their deserved goal following some shaky defending from Palace on the set-piece. Matt Targett lashed home the opener from close range as the visitors seized control of proceedings. Vieira’s side tried to get back in the game, but were finding it hard to break down Villa’s backline.

In the second half, John McGinn was on hand to double Villa’s lead with a superbly taken strike from the edge of the box. That goal would eventually be the winner as Palace managed to get one back in injury time through Marc Guehi. While there was still time for an equaliser, Gerrard’s men held their nerve and rendered Guehi’s striker a mere consolation.

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Here’s how the players fared as Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace away at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace

Vicente Guaita – 5/10

Guaita had no chance of stopping either Villa goal. He was otherwise pretty decent, making some important stops to keep the visitors at bay.

Joel Ward – 5.5/10

Ward was solid on his side. He did lack the nous to progress forward and contribute to the attacking side of things. However, he stood his ground on the defensive end and minimised any potential attacks from his side.

James Tomkins – 4.5/10

Tomkins was drafted in after Andersen’s late withdrawal due to injury. He had a poor game, as there was no chemistry with his central defensive partner. He was responsible for the suspect defending from the set piece that led to Villa’s opener.

Marc Guehi – 6/10

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Guehi struggled at the back like his partner Tomkins early on. The likes of Watkins and Young gave him a tough time as the defender looked out of sorts in moments without his usual partner Andersen. In the end, he got his name on the scoresheet, which turned out to be a mere consolation.

Tyrick Mitchell – 6.5/10

Mitchell was a good outlet from the left side, as he regularly contributed in the attacking third. He supported Wilfried Zaha throughout the game while keeping regular checks on Bailey.

Conor Gallagher – 6/10

The team’s poor performance had no bearing on his evening. Gallagher was a livewire from midfield against Aston Villa. Often shifted position to try and create chances and would be disappointed at the final result.

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Luka Milivojevic – 3/10

Milivojevic had a terrible game in midfield, losing most of his battles with Jacob Ramsey and John McGinn. Vieira ran out of patience with his irresponsible display and took him off at the hour mark.

Cheikhou Kouyate – 5.5/10

He got the assist for Palace’s consolation goal. Other than that, he barely contributed anything at all, all evening. Kouyate did fine with his midfield duties and won some battles, although Vieira would have been expecting more from the experienced player.

Michael Olise – 5/10

Starting only his second game, Olise barely had any impact despite some flashy opening minutes. Faded away as the game wore on, Vieira should reconsider playing him from the beginning as he could be a handy solution off the bench in games like these.

Christian Benteke – 5/10

Tyrone Mings got the better of Benteke in their colossal physical battle throughout the evening. There were moments when the defender robbed the striker of chances. As the game wore on, the Belgian hardly got any service while leading the line.

Wilfried Zaha – 6/10

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He had a brilliant chance to open the scoring before Villa got their first goal. Zaha’s performance levels faded as the game wore on, something that Vieira recognised and took him off in the second half.

Substitutes

Eberechi Eze – 4.5/10

The Selhurst Park faithful gave him a roaring welcome after Eze returned from his long-term injury for the first time. He barely had any impact on the game, which was understandable.

Odsonne Edouard – 5/10

Edouard managed to bring life into the Palace attack since his introduction, although to no avail.

Jordan Ayew – N/A

A late entry on the field as Vieira became desperate to snatch something from the game, which was already lost.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez – 5.5/10

When called into action, Martinez made himself big and got hold of balls coming into his area. Apart from that, he barely had anything to do until the late consolation goal by Guehi as Palace struggled to get their shots on target.

Matty Cash – 5.5/10

Mitchell dealt Cash a tough time on his side, and hence his attacking contributions took a hit. However, he made amends by defending well against any possible threat on his flank.

Ezri Konsa – 7/10

A solid display in central defence, stifling Benteke and Zaha for most parts on the evening. Could have done a bit more to stop the late Palace goal.

Tyrone Mings – 7/10

Mings imposed himself against Benteke and won the physical battle against the Crystal Palace forward. He gave the Belgian no space to take any decent shot at goal.

Matt Targett – 7/10

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Targett was on target to open the scoring for Villa after some sloppy defensive play from Palace. Additionally, the left-back thwarted Olise’s threat, allowing the teenager no room to create his magic.

John McGinn – 8/10

A brilliant game from McGinn, who used his expertise as a box-to-box midfielder to blow Palace away from the contest. He got a rewarding goal, which turned out to be the winner.

Marvelous Nakamba – 8/10

With McGinn busy progressing play, Nakamba was doing the dirty work in the middle of the park. He broke up attacks regularly to seize control of the midfield zones. Booked.

Jacob Ramsey – 7/10

Gerrard placed his trust in Ramsey, as the youngster featured in consecutive games under the new manager despite Douglas Luiz being fit. And he repaid the faith with another sound display in the middle full of energy and purpose.

Leon Bailey – 4/10

A terrible game for Bailey, who has been having well below his best level in recent weeks. He needs to step up fast, or else he might find himself down the pecking order soon under Gerrard.

Ollie Watkins – 5.5/10

Watkins will be known for appealing for so many penalties without getting one. Otherwise, he had a rather quiet day at the office as he put in the hard yards and did okay in the absence of Danny Ings without really standing out.

Ashley Young – 6.5/10

A surprise addition to the front three, but Young did his job well and worked hard to create chances. He was a good pressing outlet and also skimmed the bar from a free-kick.

Substitutes

Douglas Luiz – 6/10

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VAR intervention correctly overturned the red card he was awarded for an awful looking tackle. Did well to protect the lead from midfield.

Anwar El Ghazi – 6/10

Got the assist for the second goal. Beyond that, he blended in with the team and helped protect the lead.

Emiliano Buendia – 6/10

He came on and got involved well in the attack. Proved key in the build-up to the second goal.

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