Aston Villa player ratings gallery vs Crystal Palace: McGinn, Cash & Buendia superb in 1-0 win

Player ratings from Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace in the Premier League - including five 8/10s.

Aston Villa soared to within goal difference of the top half of the Premier League with a narrow 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon. Finally putting an end to their woeful home form, the Villans were far more effective playing out from the back and were resilient to hold on for over an hour after Joachim Andersen’s first-half own goal. Unai Emery will be pleased with the work of his side after an early scare from Wilfried Zaha.

Villa Park was silenced very early doors as the hosts were handed a huge wake-up call by Zaha, who thought he had given Crystal Palace the lead just five minutes into his return from injury. Slipped through with a defence-splitting ball from Eberechi Eze, the former Manchester United winger showed great composure to drop his shoulder and take it past Emiliano Martinez, but, after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was chalked off for a narrow offside.

Emery’s men took a while to grow into the game but began to control proceedings beyond the 20th minute or so, with much of the threat coming down the left flank. Alex Moreno used his quick feet on a few occasions to bomb down the byline past Nathaniel Clyne, putting some dangerous deliveries into the box. The best of these arrived at the head of John McGinn but the Scotsman misjudged the flight of the ball as his effort went far wide of the right post.

It was actually the opposite side of the field that saw the most decisive action of the first half, however, as the home support were thrust into action by a sudden own goal in the 27th minute. McGinn’s wonderful through ball sent Matty Cash free in behind and his low cross towards Watkins was directed into his own net by Eagles centre half Joachim Andersen. The Denmark international slid in to try and clear but got it awfully wrong. There were some lovely play from Villa in the build-up, starting with Martinez and working out from the back cooly.

The Lions so nearly doubled their lead at the end of the first period as Ollie Watkins took the ball into his stride well and was put clean through on goal. Emiliano Buendia did brilliantly to swerve an outside-of-the-boot pass through to Watkins but the effort that followed flew agonisingly wide of the left post. In his current form, you would’ve bet your house on the striker to score that, but the opportuning went a-begging.

Both teams started the second half fairly quietly, with much of the action confined to near the centre circle. Things began to get a bit fierce as the clock approached 60 as Boubacar Kamara was forced off the field with what looked to be an ankle injury. On the receiving end of a hefty two-footed challenge from Cheick Doucoure, the midfielder was unable to continue as he limped off the field. Just minutes later, Kamara’s replacement Calum Chambers felt the impact of yet another late tackle from Doucoure, who had been booked for the previous infringement. After a short delay to check on Chambers, referee Craig Pawson brandished yet another yellow, sending Doucoure off.

Villa Park erupted as Palace were rightfully taken down to 10 men. Martinez found the red card highly amusing, as he pumped his fist in the air a few times in celebration – much to the delight of spectators. From then on in it was all Villa as they patiently looked to build on their lead. The best chance came to McGinn with about 20 mins to go as substitute Leon Bailey got beyond Tyrick Mitchell and cut it back across the ground – but the Scotland international’s shot was straight at Vicente Guaita. A deserved three points, albeit nervy at the end. Here are our Villa player ratings...