Aston Villa 2-0 Crystal Palace: Trezeguet double dismantles hopeless Palace
(Photo by Tim Keeton/Pool via Getty Images)

Aston Villa came into this fixture in desperate need for all three points to keep their Premier League survival hopes alive, after relegation rivals, Watford and West Ham, both picked up wins yesterday, thus creating a seven-point gap between Villa and safety.  

Crystal Palace were looking to end their four-match losing run, against a Villa side who had failed to win a Premier League game at home since late January.

Roy Hodgson's side were unbeaten in their last 13 matches against teams in the relegation zone, winning eight and drawing five.  

Story of the match  

First half   

Mamadou Sakho, who replaced the injured Gary Cahill in the starting line-up, thought he gave Palace the perfect start with in the 7th minute, when the former France international capitalised on poor Villa defending, finding himself unmarked from a Luka Milivojevic free-kick to head home the opening goal.   

However, the Video Assistant Referee, John Moss, handed Villa a lifeline, adjudging Sakho to have handled the ball into the back of the net and chalking off Palace's lead in the process.  

In the 31st minute, Villa striker, Ally Samatta, had a glorious opportunity to take the lead for Dean Smith's side. A tantalising ball from right-back, Ahmed El Mohamady, invited the onrushing Samatta to attack it. Unfortunately for the Tanzania forward, he could only divert his header agonisingly just over the bar.  

On the stroke of half time, a dangerous free-kick, sent in from Conor Hourihane, fell to Trézéguet at the back post; he had the composure to slot the ball underneath Vincente Guiata, and score his first goal since December to give Villa the lead heading into the break.   

Second half  

VAR yet again had a role to play at the start of the second half, after the on-field referee, Martin Atkinson, awarded Villa a penalty in the 46th minute, as Partick Van Aanholt was accused of tripping Villa talisman, Jack Grealish, just inside the penalty area. VAR overturned the decision after a lengthy viewing period.  

Trézéguet doubled Villa's lead on the 58th minute after Palace failed to clear their lines properly. A header from Conor Hourihane bounced through the Eagles‘ defence to find Trézéguet, who poked home his second of the match and gave Villa the breathing space they deserved.  

Hodgson looked for inspiration from his bench in an attempt to salvage something from the game. He brought on attacking options, Andros Towsend and Max Meyer, to prevent the inevitable outcome.  

Townsend did provide one moment of magic when his cross on the 79th minute looked destined for Scott Dann to head home and set up a grandstand finish, only for Christan Benteke to snatch the ball away from Dann and force his effort over the bar.  

Villa saw out the remainder of the game with little threat from the Eagles. The win moves Dean Smith's side up to 18th and four points off safety.  

For Palace, their Project Restart misery continues; another wretched performance for Roy Hodgson's side saw them record, for the first time under the ex-England manager, their fifth straight Premier League defeat.  

The afternoon worsened for the South Londoners as Christian Benteke was sent off after the final whistle due to 'violent conduct' towards Villa defender, Ezri Konsa.  

Man of the Match: Trézéguet  

The Egyptian forward has had a tough time settling into Premier League life and was struggling for confidence in front of goal, having failed to find the back of the net since December.  

However, today he was cool, calm, and collected in front of goal and supplied an excellent outlet for a Villa side that had only scored two goals in their last six games.  

An honourable  mention goes to Conor Hourihane, who provided both assists for the Villains goals. He whipped in a devilish free-kick for Villa's opener, battled hard in the midfield area, and he inspired a Villa side, whose Premier League dream seemed dead and buried prior to this match.  

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