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Match Analysis: Crystal Palace 1-0 Aston Villa

Sports Mole takes a closer look at Crystal Palace's 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Crystal Palace edged another step closer to securing Premier League football for another season by beating Aston Villa 1-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Chances were rare in the first half at Selhurst Park as both sides struggled in the final third of the pitch, but it was a goal in the 76th minute which saw the game come to life.

Jason Puncheon collected the ball in space inside the penalty area, and his effort left Brad Guzan with no chance as Palace earned a valuable win.

Below, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the key talking points from the game.

Match statistics

Palace
Shots: 14
On target: 4
Possession: 43%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 7

Villa
Shots: 7
On target: 4
Possession: 57%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

For long spells of the match, it was difficult to see anything other than a draw being the end result at Selhurst Park. However, Palace showed a bit more imagination in the second half, and they were rewarded for their attitude when Puncheon struck the winner. On another day, Villa would have claimed a point, but they paid the price for a lacklustre display.

Palace's performance

The home side were happy to sit back in the first half as they looked to hit their opponents on the break for long spells, but there was a clear change of plan from Tony Pulis after the break. Yannick Bolasie and Puncheon were both asked to take up positions further up the field, while the midfield responded by moving the ball much quicker. Palace have played better in their run of four wins in a row, but Pulis won't care too much this evening.

Villa's performance

Villa were very poor at Selhurst Park. They were allowed to dominate possession for extended periods, but they lacked ambition on the ball and a plan going forward was never obvious to the visiting supporters. Paul Lambert's side couldn't decide if they wanted to exploit the wings, or play longer balls to Grant Holt. The Villa boss has had his critics, and they'll be voicing their frustration again after this uninspiring performance.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Yannick Bolasie: There weren't too many outstanding individuals on show, but it's Bolasie who gets this award today. The 24-year-old was positive every time he received the ball, and his pace was a constant worry for the Villa defenders, who struggled to keep him quiet.

Biggest gaffe

Cameron Jerome didn't have a great day in attack for Palace, and he'll lose some sleep tonight after somehow managing to hit the crossbar with a miscued effort from just a few yards. No-one inside the ground was quite sure how he missed it.

Referee performance

Howard Webb refused to point to the spot when Bolasie collided with Holt inside the box during the first half, despite replays suggesting that there was contact between the two players. After the break, he was forced to change a decision after giving a penalty when the ball struck Nathan Baker's chest. Luckily for him, the assistant referee stepped in to make the right call.

What next?

Palace: The Eagles return to action on Wednesday night against Everton at Goodison Park.

Villa: Lambert's side will look to recover from this defeat when they host Southampton next Saturday.

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Jason Puncheon of Crystal Palace celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Barclays Premier League match on April 12, 2014
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Result: Palace edge out Villa
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