Villa beat Crystal Palace but fans must get on side

Some Aston Villa supporters have been disappointed by the lack of progress the club has made since promotion back to the Premier League in 2019. Others will look back and point to how bad things got when we were first relegated in 2016.

I think we can all agree that Dean Smith did a great job, but it was probably the right time for him to move on and the less said about Steven Gerrard’s time at the helm, the better. Enter Unai Emery and a modern approach to playing football.

The Spaniard wants his side to control games calmly and be patient. He would much prefer his side to play the ball backwards and regain the ball than hoof the ball forward and potentially lose possession.

It’s what top teams do. For Villa to become a top team, we need to get on board and stop the moaning and groaning every time the ball comes backwards. The current crop has a mistake in them but they have improved so much during Emery’s tenure and I expect they will improve further. And who knows how far Emery can take this side with the right signings in the transfer market.

It is no secret that he is a tactician and works hard with the side so they know exactly what they are doing. Matty Cash is your perfect example. I personally wrote off the Polish international and fully expected him to depart in the summer, now, I am not so sure.

Cash has regained his position and is back to his best and a lot of that is down to the manager:

“Me and the manager have worked closely on that in terms of having my time when to go and when not to go.

“And here we thought there were spaces on the sides for both sides, that’s what the manager spoke about on Friday. So, he’s a tactical genius.”

The players are getting on board and it’s about time, we as fans did the same.

Report: Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace

The game was far from a classic and it wouldn’t have been high up on the pecking order on Match of the Day but Emery would have been pleased by his side’s clean sheet and three points.

Games of late at Villa Park have seen goals galore but Villa coming away with nothing. They will come up against better opposition than Palace who seem to be a striker away from taking the next step themselves (although I thought their creative players were off the pace the weekend).

Lucas Digne and Leon Bailey were dropped to the bench as Alex Moreno and Emi Buendia were handed starts.

The visitors welcomed back Wilfred Zaha who had been missing for a month and the Ivory Coast forward thought he had given Patrick Viera’s side the lead in the opening five minutes. Eberechi Eze played a through ball for Zaha to run onto who rounded Emi Martinez to make it 0-1.

Villa Park were able to breathe a sigh of relief when VAR ruled the goal out for offside.

In a game of few chances as both sides cancelled each other out, Cash came close when Boubacar Kamara played the wing-back through on goal but he was denied by Vicente Guaita as the ball run wide for a corner.

Villa eventually took the lead with a goal straight off the training field and define what Emery expects from his team.

Martinez stood patiently with the ball before Kamara dropped deep to free up space in midfield. The Argentine played the ball to Tyrone Mings who then went wide to Moreno. Moreno then plays the ball to Douglas Luiz who finds his midfield counterpart, Kamara. The Frenchman picked out a clever pass to John McGinn who in turn split the Palace defence to find Cash who played a low cross across goal as Joachim Anderson turned it into his own net. 1-0.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men just after the hour mark when Cheick Doucouré was given his marching orders. His first yellow card came with a lunge from behind on Kamara who was forced to be replaced by Calum Chambers who was then brought down moments later and the Malian international was sent for an early shower.

McGinn had a late chance but Guaita was equal to it as Villa made it back-to-back wins in the Premier League.

Analysis

Those who regularly read this blog or posts on our social media channels will know I’m a big fan of Unai Emery. He now has 22 points from 12 games which is a massive improvement on our time under Gerrard.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, we must now get on board. We need to go on this ride together and let’s get behind the team and enjoy it!

Up next, a trip to the capital to take on West Ham.

 

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