After missing the first months of the Premier League season, Christian Benteke walked the walk. Running onto a mistake by Scott Dann near the half-way line, Benteke raced forward with six Palace players chasing him and curled the ball in from just inside the box. A rare moment of joy for Aston Villa fans. The team then (typically) decided to park the bus for the remaining 45 minutes. Exactly what they did against Burnley.
In other news, Joe Cole played the role of Joe Cole perfectly, getting injured not even ten minutes into the game. Carlos Sánchez replaced him and didn't do much until the second half, where he hoofed the football into the sky hoping Weimann or Agbonlahor would be on the end of it.
Those wasted seconds proved valuable as our tactics seemed to run out/get lost in in translation. Towards the end, Hutton would try and keep the ball and run down the right wing, whilst the left wing liked the hoof it and see tactic, not the unity you'd expect, but I'll take it after a few bad results.
Aston Villa's back five played admirably, Jores Okore was on the end of every ball and Alan Hutton seems to have the stamina of a T-800. Brad Guzan once again made a few crucial stops. Ciaran Clark was unspectacular, but solid and Aly Cissokho did better than this, so that's good. Honestly, Villa have a solid defence and that's without Vlaar, Baker and Senderos.
Some Palace fans may feel hard done by, with a few 50/50 challenges going against them, but honestly, they would have had a goal had they played to the whistle instead of giving up when ever they felt harshly done by. It's football and it happens, you've got to give it your all until play is stopped and Palace didn't do that. Luckily for us, Crystal Palace would have also taken the lead had they not been flagged for offside early on in the game. Sometimes the chances do go our way.
All in all, it wasn't the best of games. Benteke made the chance himself and scored and Villa decided to hang on. If Palace had a player that could not only run, but finish a chance (I'm looking at you Zaha), then they would have put us away. I hope in the future we can play slightly more aggressive and only park the bus when the play calls for it. I'd like to see Villa really take the game to Leicester come Sunday.
Villa go four games unbeaten, bring on Leicester.