All of the Time - The Villa takes it all

Match winner: Jason Puncheon grabbed a second half winner against Aston Villa on Saturday                      SP81982

Match winner: Jason Puncheon grabbed a second half winner against Aston Villa on Saturday SP81982

First published in Sport
Last updated
Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

For about five seconds on Saturday I found myself joining in with the "WE ARE STAYING UP, SAY WE ARE STAYING UP" chant.

I'd gotten carried away. One too many beers beforehand. Momentarily I'd forgotten I'm supposed to be a relatively level-headed (and superstitious) Palace fan.

From now on I won't be allowing those words past my lips and inviting the worst possible kind of irony. Not until we're 100 per cent mathematically safe.

Preferably I'd like to reach a position where we would only drop into a relegation place due to a cruel 20 point FA disciplinary committee deduction or something equally out of the ordinary.

Nevertheless, it was one more gigantic step in taking another three points from an awful Aston Villa side.

And not just any three points. Our third win in a row! Our third clean sheet in a row! Five goals in three games! We're 12th in the table!

Surely this turn of events must be too good to be true?

Reliably, some elements of the Eagles stayed true to form at the 3.07pm kick-off.

Cameron Jerome ballooned a shot on to the bar from three yards, doing his best impression of a striker with a large sum of money on a scoreless game.

On the other hand, Yannick Bolasie had an explosive, tricky and effective 83 minutes.

As the season progresses he seems to be getting closer and closer to a peak we've not yet witnessed, putting in well-timed crosses and knowing when to release the ball. He even looks close to scoring a spectacular goal any week now.

KG's injury and subsequent substitution for Chamakh was a blessing, with Joe Ledley slotting into midfield alongside Mile Jedinak.

Streatham Guardian:

Midfield general: Mile Jedinak

Click here for more great pictures from the Eagles' win over Aston Villa

That entire centre trio then played impressively, with a perfect mix of battling steel and poise on the ball - a recipe that's usually skewed towards power by the ungainly presence of the South African.

Of course, Jason Puncheon once again grabbed the headlines for his angled finish, in off the post, and could have doubled Palace's advantage later on.

In the end the misses didn't matter, largely in part to Julian Speroni who pulled off one of the masterful, improbable, cat-like saves his Palace career has been famous for.

Coming at a vital stage in the game to keep the score at 1-0, it was a thing of beauty, a stranger-hugging moment and something that looks even better in slow-motion TV replays.

The Argentinian seemed to see the ball late and spring into action with it already past him, somehow contorting himself in an instant to tip it wide.

Speroni barely broke into a sweat, the same can't be said for me in the crowd.

And I’m sure my forehead will see some more non-weather-related perspiration between now and the end of the season, despite our current positive position.

I won’t be booking any celebratory Thames boat cruises to Craven Cottage just yet, but we’re taking huge steps in the right direction.

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