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Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa: Two wins in two games under Gerrard

Aston Villa earned their second straight win under Steven Gerrard, this time battling past Crystal Palace in a stern test away from home at Selhurst Park.

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa: Steven Gerrard made it two wins from two games as Villa manager, as his side shut down the Eagles for a 2-1 victory at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

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Matt Targett gave Aston Villa an early lead with a goal right on the quarter-hour mark, and John McGinn placed a world-class curler past Vicente Guaita in the 86th to put the game to bed. The three points were thoroughly and richly deserved by the visitors.

The victory moves Aston Villa all the way up to 11th in the Premier League table (they began the weekend in 16th), suddenly just one point behind 8th-place Manchester United (and level with 10th-place Crystal Palace).

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa final score final score, stats, results

Final score: Crystal Palace 1, Aston Villa 2

Goal scorers: Crystal Palace (Guehi 90'+4), Aston Villa (Targett 15', McGinn 86')

Shots: Crystal Palace 8, Aston Villa 10

Shots on target: Crystal Palace 3, Aston Villa 3

Possession: Crystal Palace 63%, Aston Villa 37%

3 things we learned - Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa

1. Two games, nearly two clean sheets under Gerrard: Not only have Aston Villa conceded just one goal (incredibly late on) in two games under Gerrard, but they’ve allowed just 14 shots (it was nine until the final 10 minutes) combined to Brighton and Crystal Palace — two sides quite accomplished in possession and going forward. It’s only two games, but Aston Villa look like a defensive juggernaut, and it happened — quite literally — over one international break.

2. Set pieces a big problem for Palace: Targett’s goal was the 10th goal Crystal Palace have conceded from a set piece this season (they’ve only played 13 games). Put another way, 10 of their 17 goals conceded have come via set pieces. Crystal Palace are giving up very little through open play (just over half a goal per game), but they’re giving away the farm on corner kicks and free kicks. It’s not that they get beat by brilliant set-piece designs either, as you can see on Aston Villa’s opening goal.

3. A team effort to replace Grealish’s production: Through 13 games, Aston Villa have scored 18 goals this season (1.39 per game - almost identical to 1.44 last season). The obvious difference is Jack Grealish’s departure. Between Ollie Watkins, Danny Ings and McGinn (all have scored three Premier League goals), Aston Villa are a far more balanced attacking side this season; Ings, Leon Bailey and Douglas Luiz have all chipped in with two assists. With the aforementioned defensive improvements under Gerrard, these are very exciting times for Aston Villa.

Man of the Match: John McGinn - Super John McGinn was, in fact, super on Saturday.

Crystal Palace vs Aston Villa final score, highlights

Matt Targett slots home the opener for Aston Villa (goal video)

As discussed above, this goal didn’t have to happen (above video).

John McGinn curler makes it 2-0 Aston Villa (goal video)

You’ll be seeing this beauty on the end-of-season montages in May.

[ VIDEO: PL highlights ]

Marc Guehi pokes home a cross to give Crystal Palace a lifeline (goal video)

It proved to be just a consolation goal for Palace, but that’s two goals in two games for Guehi, the summer signing from Chelsea.

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