Difficult For Manager And Some Players To Come Back From Another Heavy Defeat

Conceding ten goals in two games over Christmas is nothing to celebrate and this latest disappointment asks many more questions about the future of some players and more importantly, Roy Hodgson.


26th December 2020


Aston Villa 3-0 Crystal Palace


Villa Park, Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6HE


Behind closed doors


Referee – Anthony Taylor

Assistants – Adam Nunn, James Mainwaring

Fourth official – Peter Bankes

VAR – Craig Pawson

Assistant VAR – Simon Long


BOOKINGS – Wilfried Zaha (39), Tyrone Mings (39), Luka Milivojevic (56), Joel Ward (68), Eberechi Eze (83)

RED CARD – Tyrone Mings (45)


Bertrand Traore (5), Hause (67), El Ghazi (76)


James McArthur


Off the back of a humiliating home defeat to the champions, many hoped this was to be a game where the payers would react. Sadly, that was not the case and it ended in disappointment and a heavy defeat again. This will be hard for some players and the manager to come back and the patience is slowly but surely hanging by a thread.


A decision for the referee to go to the touchline monitor for a challenge in the area on Patrick van Aanholt was decided not to be a spot kick. Interestingly, no penalty on the basis that the defender got a touch on the ball but a goal kick was awarded.


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“From the moment Zaha did not convert his early opportunity to Villa scoring almost immediately afterwards, our team looked ponderous in possession and often looking like they were standing in treacle when defending. Even when Villa went down to ten men before half time, it was difficult to identify the team who had the extra man. All credit to Villa tactically and how they managed the game but in all honesty our performance and result felt even worse than the 0-7 against Liverpool.

Ultimately, there can be no debate or excuses, we were very poor. Defensively we look weaker with van Aanholt at full back combined with largely allowing Eze and Zaha to roam freely. We were frequently left exposed to counter attacks and on another day it could have been even more of a damaging defeat. Going forward, if we give Eze and Zaha such free roles supporting the main striker, it probably requires a solid but more mobile midfield three with Mitchell a less adventurous player at left back. Riedewald has to start to add mobility and greater technical ability in midfield. We can only but hope that two damaging defeats on the bounce has not seriously undermined the confidence of our players. Otherwise we could be looking at a very poor return from the festive period. Five more wins for safety seem a distance away as things stand.”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (6) – Kept pulling off saves but ended up conceding three.

2 JOEL WARD (6) – Back in the team instead of Clyne and ended up being one of only a few players that could hold their head up after this.

6 SCOTT DANN (6) – Got caught for pace on more than one occasion which is what you expect from the veteran when being pulled out of the centre.

8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) – Solid in the heart of the defence but the stand in centre back could not prevent another heavy defeat.

3 PATRICK VAN AANHOLT (6) – Was missing for the opening goal but was involved in a penalty incident which was not given and was hardly seen in the second.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (CAPTAIN – 6) – Decent position with a free kick but was fired straight at the keeper and should have done better but failed to really influence the game in any way. Replaced by 44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) on 69 minutes who showed some nice touches but the change was far too late to have any real impact.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (6) – Hard working in the midfield linking up the attack with the defence. Replaced by 23 MICHY BATSHUAYI (6) on 75 minutes who had little opportunity in front of goal.

15 JEFFREY SCHLUPP (6) – His pace was key in the opening half as he slipped past players with ease at times but did not match that in the second. Replaced by 10 ANDROS TOWNSEND (6) on 82 minutes who tried to create some urgency but far too late.

25 EBERECHI EZE (6) – Quality on the ball and did the hard work with defensive duties off it but faded as the half wore on.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (6 – BOOKED!) – Not mentioned in commentary but put Grealish off by chasing back as the last man in the first half. Caused plenty of problems to the hosts defence and involved in the red card which saw Villa go down to ten men. Despite his hard work up and down the pitch, he could work his magic to prevent the defeat.

20 CHRISTIAN BENTEKE (6) – Hardly involved in the opening half and only had one real chance in the second which ended up being offside.  


1Jack Butland, 5 James Tomkins, 9 Jordan Ayew, 17 Nathaniel Clyne, 22 James McCarthy, 27 Tyrick Mitchell


1 Martinez, 18 Targett, 5 Mings, 30 Hause, 2 Cash, 7 McGinn, 6 Luiz, 21 Ghazi, 10 Grealish, 15 Traore, 11 Watkins

SUBSTITUTES – 1 Heaton, 3 Taylor, 4 Konsa (replaced Traore on 45 mins), 14 Hourihane, 19 Nakamba, 24 Guilbert, 27 El Mohamady (replaced El Ghazi on 86 mins), 39 Davis, 41 Ramsey (replaced Luiz on 90 mins)


ROY HODGSON – “I didn’t see the 3-0 coming. I thought at half-time we’d shown enough to suggest we had enough to get back in the game. When Mings was sent off, there was even more reason to think that we would create some chances. It didn’t work out that way.”

DEAN SMITH – “I wanted the Christmas present of a good performance and I certainly got that and a good result as well. Our counter-attacking threat was there for all to see. We created numerous opportunities. Unfortunately Tyrone gets sent off but I said at half-time there was nobody better to lead the line with 10 men than Ollie Watkins and I thought he was outstanding.”


The Who Scored man of the match was Anwar El Ghazi (9.2) while the most shots were from Ollie Watkins (10). The most tackles were by Matt Targett (6) while Anwar El Ghazi (6) had the most dribbles.

  • Team rating: 7.42 – 6.16
  • Total shots: 21 – 13
  • Shots on target: 10 – 6
  • Possession: 39.7% – 60.3%
  • Pass success: 71% – 81%
  • Passes: 295 – 458
  • Dribbles: 14 – 6
  • Aerials won: 28 – 19
  • Tackles: 18 – 12
  • Fouls: 18 – 17
  • Corners: 4 – 4
  • Saves: 6 – 7
  • Dispossessed: 5 – 7


Palace have 18 points from 15 games and sat 13th in the Premier League at the final whistle.


28/12/2020 Leicester City (h) – Premier League (3pm – Prime)

02/01/2021 Sheffield United (h) – Premier League (3pm – Sky)

08/01/2021 Wolverhampton Wanderers (a) – FA Cup (7.45pm – BT)


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