Crystal Palace v Aston Villa 2015

Villa’s Friday night clash last week against United didn’t tell us much that we didn’t already know. Neither team had much in the way of chances (three shots on target all game), United showed the clinical touch and got the winning goal but Villa looked like a team that is still a work in progress.

With that in mind, Palace will be a better chance to see what Villa can achieve this season. If Villa are to improve upon the relegation battles of recent season, Palace really are the type of team Sherwood should be looking for points from.

Despite last season’s victory at their place, Villa have struggled against Palace over the last couple of years so it’s a difficult one to predict. While Sherwood has rightly highlighted the threat of the likes of Bolasie and Zaha, it might be their manager we need to worry about…

In our first two games this season Villa attempted nine shots – lower than any other Premier League team.

Pardew on Villa

“They’ve started well and Tim’s brought in a whole new batch of players.

“It can be very difficult to get them to know exactly what he wants and I’m sure he’s not there yet.

“The two games they’ve played they’ve been cohesive and Tim will be pleased with that. Obviously they’ve got talent there, so it will be a difficult game.”

Sherwood on Palace

“They are an established Premier League side – and they were quite comfortable in that second period of last season. They were excellent.

“They have brought some good players. They are a team full of men and have a lot of experience and a lot of pace on the counter-attack. We have to be aware of that.

“When I have watched Palace play, they play counter-attacking football.

“They bring teams on to them and then spring on to you with the pace of Zaha and Bolasie and Puncheon.

“They have added experience and guile in Cabaye.

They are a good side.”

Memory Match

2nd December 2014 Crystal Palace 0 Aston Villa 1

A moment of magic from Benteke secured the points against a Palace side struggling under Neil Warnock, ending a nine-match winless league run.

Palace – Last five matches at home: W 1, L 4 

Villa – Last five matches away: W 2, L 3

Villa have won just once at Selhurst Park during the last 35 years

One to Watch

Yohan Cabaye – Palace’s record signing has reunited Pardew with the ex-Newcastle midfielder, and he definitely has the quality to help the London side push for a top 10 finish.

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

Villa’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park last season, was a case of the exception to the rule that we generally don’t do very well in London.

During our last 10 league trips to the capital we’ve scored just two goals, and while those goals did lead to two 1-0 wins last season, we are reminded of the issue of goalscoring that Villa could be facing.

While exciting, the vast overhaul of the squad at the hands of Sherwood has left Villa looking a bit lacking when it comes to attacking, especially with the recent injuries.

In our first two games this season Villa attempted nine shots, lower than any other Premier League team.

Forgetting about squads though, Villa should be worried about facing the opposition manager.

Villa seem to have trouble winning against Alan Pardew – we lost four and drew three during the last seven Newcastle clashes when he was their manager. Pardew took seven points from three league clashes while at West Ham and beat Villa with Charlton, the same season they were relegated!

“They are a team full of men and have a lot of experience and a lot of pace on the counter-attack. We have to be aware of that.” – SHERWOOD ON Palace

What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide

Despite giving a decent account of ourselves against United, we did very little going forward, and Benteke’s absence was plain to see.

Last season under Lambert we never knew where the next goal would come from (or when!) and we have similar problems now in vastly different circumstances.

It’s now a matter of the team gelling but there were certainly positives in the United match, particularly the display of Jordan Amavi. Also the fact that Jack Grealish and Carles Gil are returning to fitness should give Villa more spark going forward.

Forget Cabaye. Hopefully Villa’s new signings from France can show there is life after Benteke within the fiery atmosphere of Selhurst Park.

Given the history of this fixture it might be wise, however, to focus on defensive grit – the last four top division matches between Palace and Villa have seen just three goals.

We’ve looked decent defensively this season so hopefully this trend continues, particularly given the fact we’ve lost 24 of the last 26 league games after conceding the opening goal…

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

For all the talk of Selhurst Park’s undeniable atmosphere, home form has been something of an issue for Alan Pardew’s side.

Palace have lost four of their last five league games at home, meaning a repeat of last season’s smash and grab could be on the cards.

There have been undoubted signs of promise from Sherwood’s new Villa side and the feel good factor still remains – just look at the excitement that greeted Traore’s unveiling before last week’s match.

While Traore has recently been touted by the manager as one for the future, however, returning players Gil and Grealish could have a part to play during Saturday’s game. With those two involved Villa will be an exciting and unpredictable attacking force and could beat Palace at their own counter-attacking game.

Hopefully Villa’s new additions can upstage Palace’s marquee signing and help Villa get a long over-due win over Alan Pardew.

UTV.

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