- Villa’s first win since opening day
- Hennessey slip-up gives away goal
- Palace held scoreless for fourth straight
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Manager Remi Garde made some changes to his side, benching captain Micah Richards and USMNT goalkeeper Brad Guzan, as the Frenchman was desperate to find his first win at the club since coming to Villa in November. Garde also gave Libor Kozak his first start since 2013, showing how trying the times are at Villa Park.
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Crystal Palace nearly took the lead within the opening 45 seconds, as Wilfried Zaha played a quick one-two with Jason Puncheon to get in behind the Aston Villa defense. Zaha’s shot beat Mark Bunn but was rejected by the post as Villa avoided a disastrous start.
After the early scare, Villa found their footing and were the better side throughout the first half. Jordan Ayew created some chances with his speed on the outside as Palace was pinned back in their own end for most of the opening 45 minutes.
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Aston Villa continued to control the play in the second half, and took the lead in the 58th minute thanks to an absolute howler from Crystal Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey. Joleon Lescott got a header on goal off a corner kick, as Hennessey bobbled the ball before it rolled through his legs and just over the line. It wasn’t pretty, but it was the goal Aston Villa needed.
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Palace would push on for an equalizer late in the match, but failed to create any real chances as Aston Villa found their first win in the league since August, and their first under Remi Garde.