English Premier League

Crystal Palace 3 – 2 Aston Villa

Crystal Palace comeback from behind to beat Aston Villa 3 – 2. In an engrossing encounter that belied its ‘dead rubber’ status, both sides contributed energetic displays full of attacking intent, with Palace rewarded for a superb second-half showing. Tyrick Mitchell scored his first professional goal as Crystal Palace came from behind twice to beat Aston Villa and damage their hopes of achieving a Premier League top-half finish.

Trailing 2-1 from the 34th minute, Palace battered at the door after the break until the visitors’ resistance was finally broken at Selhurst Park. With 15 minutes left, Wilfried Zaha produced a driving run before cutting inside and firing a fierce shot that deflected into the net off Villa defender Ahmed Elmohamady.

Then, with six minutes to go, Mitchell found himself in the perfect spot after a fluffed Eberechi Eze cross to bundle the ball home with his shoulder.

Palace had already come back into the game once, Christian Benteke heading in against his former club following John McGinn’s well-taken opener.

Anwar El Ghazi lashed in at the back post to restore Villa’s lead – a goal that looked like being the winner until Palace’s late rally. Villa remain 11th, four points behind 10th-placed Leeds with two games to play.

Already safe from relegation, the win took Palace to 44 points – with a chance of hitting the 50-point mark for the first time in the Premier season.

On a more positive note for Villa and potentially England, Jack Grealish made a second successive appearance from the bench following injury to provide further evidence of his improving fitness before this summer’s European Championships. Mitchell shows the way forward for Palace
Before kick-off, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright by Bob Marley echoed around the ground and the home team did their best to back up such a sentiment on the field.

Sometimes maligned for his style of play, manager Roy Hodgson has comfortably kept Palace in the Premier League during his four seasons at the club, leaning on a core of experienced and reliable players.

With the 73-year-old’s contract due to expire this summer along with those of a host of first-team regulars, a clear-out seems likely, but Sunday’s performance provides further food for thought.

Benteke is one of those whose deal is about to end, although he is arguably in the form of his Palace career, having netted for the third game running and for the fifth time in nine games.

He would have had another but for a superb Emi Martinez save that tipped his header from a corner on to the bar in the second half.

Zaha’s talents are undoubted and Sunday showed he still has the drive and desire, qualities also on display from Andros Townsend, Cheikhou Kouyate and others.

It is perhaps Eze and Mitchell, though, who Palace should be using as the template going forward. Both are young, talented, forward-looking players around which Hodgson – or, more likely, his successor – can build a side.

Source – BBC News

Back to top button