Aston Villa 1-1 Crystal Palace: Jeff Schlupp salvages point for Patrick Vieira's Eagles

Free highlights and match report as Crystal Palace's Jeff Schlupp hit back to cancel out Ollie Watkins' opener for Aston Villa and earn a share of the spoils at Villa Park; Both sides' hopes of a top-10 finish remain intact ahead of final week

By Dan Long at Villa Park

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Aston Villa and Crystal Palace both kept their hopes of a top half Premier League finish intact after a pulsating 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

Danny Ings passed up three opportunities for the hosts to take the lead in the first half, but Steven Gerrard's men finally made the breakthrough when Ollie Watkins slid in his 10th of the season in front of the Holte End (69).

However, the Eagles netted a deserved leveller to earn a point when Jeff Schlupp arrived at the back post to beat Emi Martinez (81).

Top half rivals cancel one another out

Villa stay 12th as a result, four points behind 10th-placed Brighton with two games to play, while Palace remain a point and a place further ahead.

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Player ratings

Aston Villa: Martinez (6), Cash (7), Konsa (6), Mings (7), Digne (6), Luiz (6), Nakamba (7), McGinn (7), Coutinho (6), Watkins (7), Ings (6)

Subs: Chambers (6), Ramsey (6), Buendia (n/a)

Crystal Palace: Butland (6), Clyne (6), Andersen 6), Kouyate (6), Guehi (6), Mitchell (6), Gallagher (5), Milivojevic (5), Eze (5), Mateta (5), Zaha (6)

Subs: Edouard (5), Benteke (5), Schlupp (7)

Man of the match: Ollie Watkins

Other than the aforementioned battle to finish inside the top half, there was little to play for at Villa Park, with the hosts taking the opportunity to mark the 40th anniversary of their 1982 European Cup triumph, with members of the squad in attendance.


That pre-match celebration set the tone, with the crowd in fine voice on a cloudy afternoon in the Midlands. Inside 10 minutes, Ings poked a Douglas Luiz cross just past the post and then fired over after a questionable clearance from Joachim Andersen.

Image: Aston Villa and Crystal Palace shared the points after a 1-1 draw at Villa Park on Sunday

Philippe Coutinho blazed over the bar as the chances began to rack up, but Palace found their way back into the game and went close when Wilfried Zaha's rasping effort was palmed away by Emiliano Martinez.

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By far the best chance of the first half, however, came just after the half-hour mark. John McGinn found Watkins with a smart ball that the forward held up and squared for Ings, who curled a shot the wrong side of the right-hand post.

With just over an hour gone, Tyrick Mitchell tried a shot that was well blocked by Matty Cash, with Conor Gallagher's deflected shot held by Martinez moments later.

Team news

  • Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard named the same team that lost 2-1 to Liverpool in midweek for the visit of Palace, with Ollie Watkins fit enough to start after an ankle complaint.
  • Meanwhile, Patrick Vieira made four changes to his side following the 1-0 win that relegated Watford. Joel Ward, Will Hughes, Michael Olise and Odsonne Edouard dropped out, with Tyrick Mitchell, Luka Milivojevic, Jean-Philippe Mateta and Cheikou Kouyate in to replace the quartet.

Villa seemed to see that as their cue to finally establish a lead in the game and did so when Watkins got the better of Marc Guehi to slide in a glorious cross from Lucas Digne. Palace boss Patrick Vieira felt the defender had been impeded and was booked for his furious appeals.

The lead did not last, though. With nine minutes of the 90 remaining, Guehi flicked a header over to the far post where Schlupp arrived to poke home the equaliser just three minutes after his introduction.

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Man of the match - Ollie Watkins

Image: Crystal Palace's Marc Guehi (left) and Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins battle for the ball

There were fears that Watkins would be absent for the visit of Palace, given the ankle issue that has been causing him problems, but he battled to play the full 90 minutes at Villa Park and was rewarded with a well-taken goal that helped the hosts to earn a point.

Gerrard: We were naive to concede in the way we did

Aston Villa's Steven Gerrard:

"It was a really close game; I thought Patrick's team caused us some issues in the first half and we had to tweak one or two things at half-time. Going over the chances, I felt like we created enough to win the game and score more than one goal.

"I think, on another day, if we were more ruthless and more clinical, we would have been sat here talking about three points rather than one. [It was] really naive in terms of the goal we've conceded, but our overall performance, I don't think there was too much wrong with it. They have got dangerous players, they are a good team and we haven't conceded one set play well enough on second phase - unfortunately that has cost us two points.

"It's on, but it's slightly more difficult now. We needed to really take control and take maximum points today, but my players are frustrated and I really like it. I really like that they are frustrated and hopefully we can take that frustration out on Thursday night because we want to be a more consistent team at home but we have to be more ruthless and clinical in front of goal.

"Those duels and those challenges were getting played on all over the pitch, so I don't see any reason why it [Watkins' goal] should have been ruled out. Ollie deserves all the credit for that goal. We asked him to really play behind the target second half and he certainly did. Great cross from Lucas (Digne), who was outstanding. The idea when you are out wide is to put that ball underneath the crossbar and make it really difficult for the goalkeeper and the defence. That's when we had the game exactly where we wanted it."

Vieira: Palace don't always make the right decisions in the final third - we must improve next year

Crystal Palace's Patrick Vieira:

"I'm really happy with the performance. I think, from the first minute, we played well and we managed to control the game. We showed quality and we showed character to get back into the game and manage to take a point. I was really pleased [with the reaction to going behind] because it wasn't easy to concede that goal. We didn't deserve to concede that goal and we showed quality and character to fight and to find the strength to get back into the game and to score that goal.

"From where I was, I thought it was a foul. There is a player who played the ball and they are the ones who played the player but I have not had the chance to look at it again. That was from my angle.

"We tried our best, but when we get to the last third we don't always make the correct decisions and, of course, we need to keep working and keep improving. But this is one of the areas that, next year, we have to be better in because I think there was a space for us today; with the way we played, the situation and the chances we created, we should score more than one goal."

Should have seen it coming...

● Aston Villa drawing 1-1 is the sixth most common exact scoreline in Premier League history (130), while the Villans have had that result at least 25 more times than they've had any other in the competition (0-0 105 times).

● Crystal Palace have drawn 15 league games this season, their most ever in a 20-team league, and most in a single top-flight campaign since 1992-93 (16).

What's next?

Aston Villa host Burnley and Crystal Palace travel to Everton on Thursday at 7.45pm. Villa then travel to Manchester City and Palace host Manchester United on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday at 4pm.

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