Crystal Palace finally landed their first win of the 2022-23 Premier League season on Saturday (20 August), securing a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at Selhurst Park.
Steven Gerrard’s side found the back of the net first, with Ollie Watkins grabbing the opener five minutes into the game after a great pass from Leon Bailey.
Villa’s lead did not last long, though, with Odsonne Edouard finding Wilfried Zaha with a deft pass two minutes later after Emiliano Buendia had a penalty appeal waved away following Cheick Doucoure’s challenge
The Ivory Coast international forward left two defenders in his wake after taking the ball from the centre circle to put his strike beyond Emiliano Martinez.
Jeffrey Schlupp put Palace ahead much later, but it was struck out after VAR ruled Edouard offside before he found the Ghana international midfielder with a pass.
VAR later helped the hosts out 10 minutes in the second half as they were awarded a penalty kick after checks showed that Marc Guehi’s back-post header from a corner struck Lucas Digne’s arm.
Zaha stepped up to take the spot kick, and while it was initially saved, the rebound fell kindly to him and he calmly dispatched it to put his side into the lead.
Jean-Philippe Mateta wrapped up a deserved victory for the Eagles with 19 minutes left on the clock just shortly after he came on, converting a fine cross from Tyrick Mitchell following the left-back’s one-two exchange with Zaha.
Palace started the season with a 2-0 loss to Arsenal before quickly bouncing back with a 1-1 draw against Liverpool, while Villa started with a 2-0 loss to Bournemouth before a 2-1 win against Everton.
Patrick Vieira’s side were the better team on Saturday, with Steven Gerrard’s men simply having no answer to the questions the hosts constantly posed.
The result left Palace in ninth place in the table, with Villa in 13th position.
Both will be pushing for the European places this season, and while it is still early days, the London team appear to be the better side and could give their competitors a run for their money in the race for the top seven.
Palace and Villa have spent fairly on new players this summer, with four new arrivals each, but they could look to make more additions to their respective squads before the window shuts in order to boost their chances of finishing in the top half of the table.
Gerrard was not pleased with the result, saying about the penalty:
“For me, it’s harsh. I’m not sure what Lucas can do in the situation. He tries to compete honestly for the ball, he tries to jump naturally.
“He’s not trying to gain an advantage or stop the header on goal. It’s a complete accident.”
Vieira was happy, though, saying:
“Today, we had a really good performance.
“From the first minute until the last we played with a lot of intensity and I was really proud of the players.
“It’s one of the most consistent performances that we had from the start to the end.”