Aston Villa 0-0 Crystal Palace: Both sides miss chances to win it

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This was a game that happened.

I could stop there, but I won’t, because we promised to bring you every game. Christian Benteke missed a late chance and Brad Guzan saved a pair of early chances for Crystal Palace as boos rang down at Villa Park on the final whistle.

Aston Villa began brightly and produced a Christian Benteke shot that forced an early save from Julian Speroni. The home side continued to dominate as Palace failed to get a sniff of the ball, but despite a whopping 80% of possession for Villa through 25 minutes, they only produced a pair of shots on target. Of the 199 completed passes for Villa in the first half-hour, just 27 of them came in the attacking third.

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The home side were pegged back a bit when captain Ron Vlaar was forced off just 15 minutes in with an injury, replaced by Ciaran Clark. Alan Hutton minutes later saw his close-range effort from a tight angle smothered by Speroni who came out well.

Palace finally had an opportunity, but James McArthur, on the receiving end of a cross in the box, chose to dive to ground under a light challenge at best rather than try to collect the ball and produce a shot, and he received a shake of the head from referee Robert Madley.

The visitors somehow had the majority of the chances despite seeing so little of the ball, as Joe Ledley saw Brad Guzan make a fine save despite the shot flying high, and Yannick Bolasie pounded the bar despite being through one-on-one with the keeper, all within the opening 20 minutes.

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We had to wait until the 71st minute for the next best chance, as Villa continued to produce possession but not opportunities, and Benteke would waste their best one yet. A cross from Carlos Sanchez cut right to Benteke from close range in the box, but he rocketed the shot way over the bar.

That would be it for either side as far as solid chances go, as Aston Villa finished with 70% possession but nothing to show for it. That produced a chorus of boos from the home supporters at Villa Park on the final whistle, as Paul Lambert once again faces pressure.

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The point does see Villa jump a spot up to 12th, passing Everton. Meanwhile, Palace will welcome new manager Alan Pardew just a point from safety, although they could have had more had Brad Guzan not stepped up.

LINEUPS:

Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Vlaar (Clark 15′), Okore, Cissokho, Sanchez, Bacuna, Cleverley (Grealish 64′), Weimann (Cole 83′), Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Delaney, Dann, Mariappa, Bolasie, McArthur (Bannan 90′), Ward, Ledley, Puncheon, Zaha (Gayle 62′).