- Date – 12th January 2016
- Venue – Villa Park
- Attendance – 28,245
- Referee – Mark Clattenburg
- Bookings – Veretout, Gueye, Ward
- Goals – Lescott (58)
- Star Eagle – Joel Ward (7.2)
Palace travelled to bottom of the table Aston Villa off the back of a good win at Southampton in the FA Cup.
With the injury list slowly improving and hard work no doubt going on behind the scenes on recruiting fresh blood, Alan Pardew opted to bring in Bakary Sako for the lone striker role while James McArthur returned in place of Jordon Mutch.
Opposition manager Remi Garde opted to make a few changes of his own which raised a few eyebrows but it was needs must for his side in an effort to secure his first win as manager.
The visitors, sponsored by Mansion that own online casino sites such as Casino.com, were quickest out of the blocks. An excellent one-two between Jason Puncheon and Wilfried Zaha resulted in an effort from the latter which just skimmed the post while a Puncheon through ball to Sako ended in a shot over the bar.
Those were two of few highlights from what was a lacklustre display from the Eagles against a team languishing at the foot of the Premier League table. To be fair, the hosts offered some improvement on their recent form but were gifted the lead just thirteen minutes into the second half.
Journeyman defender Joleon Lescott met a corner with a tame header which was initially saved low by Wayne Hennessey only for the big Welshman him to allow the ball to escape his clutches and roll through his legs. The image was one that would make you chuckle on any other occasion, Hennessey in all kinds of trouble, legs tangled up on the goal line as the ball rolled agonisingly over the line. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper had been in great form of late but this was a mistake that would end up handing the points to Villa.
The closest Palace went in the second half was a header from half-time substitute Connor Wickham which was cleared off the line. The one statistic that tells the whole sorry tale was the corner count. Palace did not have one corner in the whole ninety minutes.
It truly was a bad day at the office, as quoted by Hennessey on Twitter after the game, and perhaps a hangover from the cup win at Southampton. Returning midfielder was once again honest in his own assessment of the game as he told CPFC.co.uk that ‘weren’t quite at it’ and ‘we didn’t perform’.
The Scot was quite right. Too many players were below par which combined with no real goal threat contributed to the first Premier League win for Villa since the opening day of the season. Pardew described the defeat as ‘the worst of the season’ and things do not get any easier with a trip to Manchester City up next. Eluding to the fact that no defenders or midfielders would be arriving in the transfer window, Pardew has made it clear that he is looking for fresh attacking options. Whoever they may be, they cannot arrive soon enough after this, the fourth Premier League game in a row without a goal.
Regardless of this result, the club are in a good place. Sitting healthily in the top ten as form is more often than not, just temporary. However, a reaction will be expected at the weekend in the first of two tough games, the second being Tottenham at home before the FA Cup Fourth Round tie against Stoke City.
Player Ratings (courtesy of Who Scored)
- Wayne Hennessey (5.6) – After some great showings of late, his howler ended up the difference between the two sides.
- Joel Ward (7.2) – Not many came out of this game with any credit but the right back was the pick.
- Scott Dann (7.0) – Worked hard throughout including a late stint up front but to no avail.
- Damien Delaney (6.2) – The big Irishman will admit that this performance was not one of his best.
- Pape Souare (6.6) – Going through a bit of a tough time lately and this match was no different.
- Joe Ledley (6.9) – It was tough work in a midfield that was not getting much respite from the front line. Replaced by Connor Wickham (6.0) on 45 minutes who struggled to make an impact with one chance of note cleared off the line.
- Yohan Cabaye (6.6) – Below par like the rest of the team and really did not suit the number ten role in the first half.
- Jason Puncheon (6.5) – Many question his starting role of late and it is hard to argue after this one.
- James McArthur (7.1) – Took a while to get going but showed signs of a return to form. Replaced by Mile Jedinak (6.3) on 78 minutes to add something a little extra to try and get something from the game.
- Wilfried Zaha (6.2) – Great early effort that clipped the post but found it hard to get much going after that. Really needs to get the ball in from out wide sooner.
- Bakary Sako(5.9) – Started in the lone striker role. A couple of powerful shots and a lot of running but hold up play was missing. Replaced by Marouane Chamakh (5.9) on 62 minutes who found it difficult to get into the game.
Unused substitutes – Julian Speroni, Martin Kelly, Jordon Mutch, Frazier Campbell
The Who Scored man of the match was Joleon Lescott (8.7) while Jordan Ayew (4) had the most shots. The most tackles were made by Leandro Bacuna (5) while Jordan Ayew (5) had the most dribbles.
- Team rating: 7.20 – 6.41
- Total shots: 13 – 8
- Shots on target: 3 – 1
- Possession: 52.2% – 47.8%
- Pass success: 79% – 73%
- Dribbles: 11 – 6
- Tackles: 24 – 11
- Corners: 9 – 0
- Dispossessed: 8 – 17
Premier League Table (courtesy of Premier League)
|5||West Ham United||21||35|
|12||West Bromwich Albion||20||26|