Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa: Mcginn steers in worldie to give 10-man Villa second win under Steven Gerrard
(Photo by Marc Atkins)

Playing to the backdrop of a vociferous Selhurst Park didn't seem to phase Steven Gerrard, as the newly appointed Aston Villa manager earned his second win from two games at the helm, this time against Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace.

The first-half rifle from Matt Targett highlighted once again Palace's weakness in defending set pieces, leaving Patrick Vieira's Eagles trailing at the break.

Douglas Luiz was sent off to the chorus of the Holmesdale End's reinvigorated hope, but it was the away end that got the last cheer, with John Mcginn steering a sublime effort into the top left corner in the last ten minutes.

Palace did rescue a lifeline through Marc Guehi, and six minutes of additional time followed suit, but they were condemned to a first home defeat of the season.

  • The match

The void in midfield that James McArthur left in his absence was felt in the first half of play. Crystal Palace struggled to find a link between their phases of play, while Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey in claret and blue tugged at the home defence.

In the opening five minutes, Leon Bailey's backheel pass to Matty Cash almost conjured the first goal of the game.

The fullback bobbled a shot just wide of the left post, leaving Vicente Guaita straddling across his goal frantically. 

Wilfried Zaha was the next to create an effort, but for Palace, it proved to be a rare opportunity for the home side. The Ivorian did well to dance away from two Villa defenders and sell them with a fake shot, but he dragged his attempt wide of the mark.

While the Eagles suffered from the loss of McArthur, Steven Gerrard reaped the rewards from the return of Matt Targett, who opened the scoring in the 12th minute.

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Crystal Palace scrambled in the box and failed to clear the corner, but Targett was alive to the situation, rifling a half volley into the back of the net. 

As the half faded out of Palace's grip, Selhurst Park cried out for their main attacking outlets to make a difference. There was no invention from the likes of Zaha or Benteke, despite the latter of the two heading the ball over following a looping cross from Tyrick Mitchell.

John McGinn almost added breathing space for the visitors just before the half-closed. The Scottish midfielder curled a dazzling strike wide of the top-left corner - something he would make up for later in the game.

  • Second half

Palace's glaring nervousness carried on at the start of the second half, as Benteke beared down on goal, but there was no supporting cast. Hesitant to take the game by the scruff of the neck, Vieira's men juxtaposed that of Gerrard's. 

Following another cross into the box, Palace failed to get the ball clear at the first time of asking just minutes into the restart. With Ollie Watkins always lurking, Palace held on to just the one-goal deficit. 

James McArthur's replacement, Luka Milivojevic, was also lucky to get away with an awful free-kick, gifting the visitors a golden opportunity to break. The Serbian midfielder followed his mistake up with a goal-saving tackle, being lucky to get away without a card.

Ashley Young's resulting free-kick ruffled the top of the net, and although Eberechi Eze was brought on for his first appearance since his achilles injury earlier in the year to create a spark, Villa persisted most fervent.

That was until Douglas Luiz was sent off for a late challenge on Cheikhou Kouyate. The Brazilian was given a second yellow card, condemning him to the sidelines for the rest of the half.

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A profusion of Palace efforts followed as Villa were happy to sit back, but it was no use, two strikes from Benteke and Edouard were struck right into the centre of the goal.

And on the 80th minute-mark, John Mcginn slammed a first-time rocket into the top left corner of the Palace goal, wheeling away to the tune of a rampant away end. 

Steven Gerrard's long-range capabilities to make a difference as a player were translated into Aston Villa's performance on Saturday afternoon. 

Marc Guehi did score in the remaining minutes of the game, sparking a frantic finish at Selhurst Park. It wasn't enough, though, and Gerrard continued his 100% record at the helm of Aston Villa.