A brace from Wilfried Zaha helped Crystal Palace beat Aston Villa 3-1 to record their first Premier League win of the new season.
It was an entertaining fixture from the start at sunny Selhurst Park as Ollie Watkins (5) fired Aston Villa into an early lead. Leon Bailey headed a long ball into the path of the striker, and he made no mistake in passing Vicente Guaita.
But Crystal Palace’s goalkeeper was rarely tested thereafter, and Crystal Palace quickly struck back. Zaha (7) came off the halfway line before entering the area and coolly passing Emiliano Martínez.
The Eagles thought they had taken the lead late in the first half when Jeffrey Sclupp shot home from Odsonne Edouard’s cut, but VAR deemed Edouard offside from the opening free kick.
After Bailey hit the woodwork early in the second half, Crystal Palace soon had a second that counted, with VAR involved again. Lucas Digne was handed a handball penalty after a Marc Guehi header, deftly saved by Martinez, hit his raised arm.
Referee Andy Madley awarded the penalty after checking the pitch monitor, with Zaha lining up the penalty. His initial effort was stopped by Martinez who, despite the score, played an impressive game, but his save didn’t go far enough and Zaha easily scored the rebound (58).
Crystal Palace looked impressive in each attack and added the third with one of the plays of the game. It was a sumptuous Zaha backheel that saw Tyrick Mitchell burst down the left flank, his effervescent cross finished off by a slide from Jean-Philippe Mateta (71), the striker’s first touch as a substitute.
With the victory, Crystal Palace records its first three points of the season, after drawing 1-1 against Liverpool on Monday night football. However, Aston Villa, without the defensive summer signing of Diego Carlos, were unable to capitalize on the momentum of their first win against Everton last weekend.
How the Eagles flew past Villa
The first half was a breathless affair as Zaha promptly called off Watkins’ opener. After the equalizer, Palace began to find their offensive feet, although Schlupp’s goal to put the hosts ahead was disallowed for offside.
Crystal Palace continued to hunt for a second, but ran into an impressive Martinez. Just after Schlupp’s disallowed goal, the goalkeeper denied Edouard at the near post before Aston Villa cut the ball to safety.
- Crystal Palace made the only change of their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Monday Night Football with Nathaniel Clyne falling to the bench, replaced by Odsonne Edouard.
- Aston Villa have made three changes since their win against Everton. Diego Carlos is sidelined with a serious injury, with Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings also on the bench. Ezri Konza, Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey entered the XI.
Just before halftime, an unmarked Jordan Ayew finished off a cross from the left, but his shot was deflected by a diving Martinez. Vicente Guaita had little to do for much of the first half, but Emi Buendía denied it a minute later when the Villa striker sent his shot straight into Palace’s goal.
Villa was able to get ahead six minutes into the break; It was an excellent play by Bailey down the right with Mitchell doing his best not to foul the striker. However, that allowed Bailey to cut inside before unleashing a thunderous, curling shot towards goal, only to see it hit the top of the crossbar.
But the tide turned in Palace’s favor soon after. Initially, Martinez had made an excellent save from Guehi’s header, but after a lengthy VAR check, Digne was deemed to have handled the ball. Zaha made sure the second of the hosts counted when he scored the rebound from his own penalty save.
The hosts continued to push for a third with Villa not offering much in the other direction despite second-half introductions from Danny Ings, Philippe Coutinho and Douglas Luiz.
And Mateta rounded off the victory after a good and wide attack by Palace to ensure a deserved victory for the Eagles.
Both teams return to Carabao Cup action in midweek. Crystal Palace travel to Oxford United on Tuesday before hosting Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday; start 3 p.m.
Aston Villa will also play away to Bolton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday before hosting West Ham in the Premier League next Sunday; start 2:00 p.m.