EPL

Crystal Palace 5-0 Aston Villa: Mateta hat-trick sends Eagles soaring to final-day win

By Sports Desk May 19, 2024

Jean-Philippe Mateta stole the show with a hat-trick as Crystal Palace ended the Premier League season unbeaten in seven straight games after a 5-0 hammering of Aston Villa at Selhurst Park.

Palace manager Oliver Glasner replaced Roy Hodgson in February and has made an immediate impression on the Eagles, with promising signs awaiting his first full season in England next term.

Mateta has been one of many Palace players to enjoy an upturn in form since Glasner's arrival, with the in-form striker's deadly first-half double paving the way for an impressive victory on Sunday.

Frenchman Mateta completed his hat-trick with a well-taken finish in the second half, in between a pair of eye-catching Eberechi Eze goals, as Palace's dominant triumph saw them finish 10th in the table.

This final-day defeat will not dampen the mood too much for Unai Emery's fourth-placed Villa, who head into next season with UEFA Champions League football awaiting.

Selhurst Park erupted after just nine minutes when Michael Olise slipped a delicate pass into the area for Mateta, who blasted a left-footed effort past the helpless Robin Olsen.

Villa responded with a barrage on Palace's goal, but Dean Henderson denied a well-struck Moussa Diaby volley before Marc Guehi cleared Ollie Watkins' looping header on the line.

Glasner's Eagles struck another decisive blow six minutes before the interval as Daniel Munoz swept a low cross for Mateta to slam into the top-left corner from close range.

Olsen stopped Olise from making it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time, with his low curling attempt pushed away by the Villa goalkeeper, who replaced Emiliano Martinez for this final-day meeting.

Yet Olsen had no chance after 54 minutes as Eze danced inside from the left and powered into the bottom-left corner, before the Palace midfielder teed up Mateta to complete his treble with a well-taken finish from the right of goal nine minutes later.

Palace's in-form striker thought he had another to add to his tally moments later but a VAR review ruled the Frenchman offside after racing onto a long pass in behind.

Mateta responded to that VAR decision by setting up Eze to drive another brilliant attempt into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area after 69 minutes and complete a dominant victory.

Palace excitement builds with Glasner

Prior to this game, Palace had won five of their last six Premier League games (D1), as many as they had in their previous 27 (D8 L14). 

The Eagles smashed Manchester United 4-0 and Wolves 3-1 in their last two games before this victory made it three Premier League wins in a row, while Palace scored 3+ goals in each triumph for the first time in their top-flight history.

Austrian Glasner's next challenge will be to keep up the improvements going into next season, with Palace – boasting quality in the likes of Eze, Mateta and Olise – capable of competing in the top half of the table.

Amazing Emery inspires Villa revival

Villa were only promoted back to the Premier League five years ago, after their Championship play-off final victory over Derby County, but will be preparing for Champions League football next term.

That remarkable rise to compete with Europe's elite can largely be apportioned to Emery, who was appointed in October 2022 after Steven Gerrard was dismissed with Villa struggling at the bottom half of the league table.

The Spaniard, a record four-time winner of the Europa League, has 35 wins in 63 games of his Premier League managerial career with Villa – a record he will hope to continue improving next season.

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