It took just 15 minutes for Villa to grab the opener as Targett slotted home for his first Premier League goal in two years. It should have been two shortly after, with Ashley Young and McGinn’s both unlucky not to double the visitors’ lead. At the other end, Palace’s solitary first-half chance came through Wilfried Zaha, who could only drag his left-footed shot wide after he cut through Villa’s defence.
After the break, Patrick Vieira’s men pushed forward and nearly got an equaliser, as a mix-up in the Villa defense saw the ball bounce off Matty Cash and go just wide. Despite their resurgence, the hosts were caught on the break, as Luka Milivojević escaped with a yellow card after he brought Watkins down, as the Villa striker raced forward. Ashley Young was unlucky not to grab Villa’s second from the resulting free-kick, as his lofted effort clipped the bar.
With 15 minutes to play, Palace looked set to be given a lifeline, when Douglas Luiz was sent off for a reckless challenge. However, a VAR review overturned the decision made by Michael Salisbury, who was kept busy by two battling sides on his Premier League debut.
Palace had two golden chances to snatch a point at the death, as Christian Benteke’s acrobatic volley stung the palms of Emiliano Martínez, who later denied Odsonne Édouard. Yet, the hosts were ultimately punished when McGinn curled in Villa’s second from the edge of the area to give Villa back-to-back 2-0 wins after a run of five straight defeats before Gerrard’s arrival. The result ends Palace’s seven-game unbeaten run as unusually lethargic showing produced a first home defeat of the season.