Dean Smith choose to stick with the team that beat Everton last week. Conor Hourihane can continue to feel hard done because of his performance midweek against Crewe — but Luiz holds on to the spot.
Former Villa players Jordan Ayew and Gary Cahill lined up for Crystal Palace.
On to the match.
Villa were on the front foot within the first minute with Wesley hitting the target from a wide angle 40 seconds into the match. It was never going to be a goal once he was in the wide area but a positive start. The next big chance was five minutes in after Trezeguet was fouled outside the box. But Douglas Luiz couldn’t keep the shot on target.
Neil Taylor bailed out Mings after the new English Centre back got caught in possession by Ayew. Thankfully Taylor was aware enough to get across and prevent Villa gifting a goal chance to Palace. All in all the first 15 minutes were sloppy. Many fouls and giveaways for both teams — and no real quality attacks.
Luiz picked up an early yellow card in the 16th minute for stopping a Kouyate run in the middle of the pitch.
James McArthur missed his chance to put the hosts in front when he put an open volley over the bar. The chance came from a Gilbert mistake. Minutes later Kouyate could have headed it in off a free kick but he too put it over.
The mistakes continued. At one point Jota crossed it into his box leading to shot on target. Villa were lucky to be even at the half an hour mark.
Neil Taylor picked up a yellow card with ten minutes left in the half for a late tackle on Zaha. He complained it was his first foul — but it was a deserved card.
Guilbert picked up a booking as well five minutes later — making it three cards for the visitors in the first half. The ensuing free kick was deflected and Heaton was in the right place to push it out wide. Two corners later Heaton had to save a Kouyate header that came off the ground.
Kevin Friend wasn’t done with the cards though. Trezeguet got one. Seemed harsh but Mr. Friend was in the mood to show Villa cards, I guess.
Crystal Palace continued to dominate the match — helped by mistakes from Villa. But some misplaced shots and some key defensive plays kept the goal tally at zero for the rest of a forgettable first half.
The second half started with Kouyate fouling Jota late — but not picking up a card. The Trezeguet free kick was high and wide. Moments late McGinn rolled a Palace defender very well and crossed it into a good spot for Trezeguet — but the Egyptian jumped too early and couldn’t get enough power on it. But it was a positive start.
Engels was the next Villa player to make a mistake — having the ball taken from him in the Villa side. But Kouyate couldn’t keep his shot on target so the defender was spared.
10 minutes into the second half — Kevin Friend struck again. Trezeguet made a dumb tackle on Zaha. The quite un-friendly Friend had no hesitation in showing a second yellow card to the winger. 40 minutes left and a man down.
Heaton made a very nice save as Palace piled on the pressure with the extra space on the pitch.
Keinan Davis came on for Jota four minutes after the red card. Dean Smith with an aggressive move pushing two up front and leaving the trio of McGinn, Grealish, and Luiz in the midfield with not much support in the wide areas.
Villa were pinned in as Palace had corner after corner. But none of them led to a Palace goal. With 20 minutes left Smith made his second Villa change after Jordan Ayew very nearly scored a beauty of a curling goal. Hourihane on for Douglas Luiz.
Kouyate picked up a yellow for a foul on Grealish.
Villa pushed forward — and Palace counter attacked to break the deadlock. Ayew snuck between Mings and Grealish — with the help of a kind bounce. One on one with Heaton the former Villa man made it count putting the hosts up 1-0.
Scenes at Selhurst!— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 31, 2019
Jordan Ayew breaks the deadlock! pic.twitter.com/29UUaZs9KV
The counter attack was always a danger once the Davis was brought on and Smith decided to push up despite being down a man. Palace love to counter. And did it well.
Lansbury was added with six minutes left to bulk up the midfield — as Wesley left after a disappointing performance. The rough day wasn’t all on him because the forward was isolated for large parts of the match.
Former Villa hero Christian Beneteke came on for Palace down the stretch.
Six minutes were added for all the stoppages. Villa made a few attacking pushes — but like so much of the match it wasn’t good enough. Kevin Friend also continued to be terrible and inconsistent.
In the final minute Grealish went on a great run. At the end he passed the ball to Henri Lansbury and then went to ground. Lansbury slotted it in the back of the net. 1-1!!! But no. Kevin Friend strikes again. He blows the whistle and calls the move back for Jack going to ground.
Friend played a masterful match for Palace; he wasn't about to let a perfectly good equalizer from Villa ruin it.— Chet Manley (@AstonVillanUSA) August 31, 2019
in the box! what’s the point of VAR if we’re not going to award clear penalties?! https://t.co/6jnCSF3xRd— alex carson (@_alexcarson) August 31, 2019
VAR doesn't count for everyone then.— Daniel Raza (@razajourno) August 31, 2019
Villa denied a clear goal today after constantly getting decisions against them.
Where on Earth was the system that prevents this kind of disgraceful refereeing?#AVFC
Build up to the disallowed goal.— Matt Lynch (@mattlyynch) August 31, 2019
Somehow Friend seems to think that Grealish dived in the build up despite clearly trying to stay on his feet.
Lansbury finished it but referee pulled it back to book Grealish.
VAR not interested. Shambles. #AVFC pic.twitter.com/Dzq4Ey05Xd