Steven Gerrard and Patrick Vieira faced off Saturday — as managers — as Aston Villa used limited, but efficient possession to get a crucial 2-1 win on the road. Villa move up to 11th in the table.
“We really enjoyed to play against each other, every single game against Liverpool was tough and challenging because of Steven Gerrard,” Vieira, Palace manager, said of his previous matchups as a player.
Matt Targett found the back of the net in the 15th minute before John McGinn made it 2-0 in the 86th minute. Marc Guehi scored a late one for Palace, largely meaningless given the time (90 + 4:23′).
“I knew he was a good player,” Gerrard said of McGinn, prior to the match. “He’s got a big, big role to play both on and off the pitch. He’s that type of character – he’s almost like the glue and I’m really delighted he’s now my player.”
Gerrard is only the second manager to win his first two Premier League games in charge of Aston Villa, after John Gregory in February/March 1998. Interestingly enough, Gerrard never won at Palace as a player.
“Both our goals today were worked really well,” Gerrard said after the win. “Our first half performance was excellent. We knew at times we’d have to roll our sleeves up and dig in at times. Crystal Palace improved after the break but we had 2 or 3 chances to score more goals.”
Palace won the possession battle 63-37, but had fewer shots overall than Villa.
This sort of a performance again Villa, on the heels of a 3-3 draw vs Burnley a week back after back-to-back wins vs Manchester City and Wolverhampton aren’t very motivating.
“As a team it wasn’t a good performance in and out of possession,” Vieira said of his side. “You will lose a game but it’s more about the performance I’m not happy about.”
Palace are in 10th place in the Premier League table, just a point behind Brighton & Hove Albion who are playing Leeds United at the time of publication.
“I’m really disappointed with the result,” Vieira added. “More disappointed by the performance. Today we didn’t play well enough. We didn’t move the ball quick enough we didn’t defend well as a team and the consequence is not getting anything from the game.”
Palace are back in action in a few days vs Leeds United on Tuesday (30 November) and have a perfect opportunity to get this loss behind them.
Gerrard and Villa will look for their third-straight win together next week vs Manchester City (1 December).