Aston Villa player ratings v Crystal Palace: Clark and Okore rock solid

Benteke 2

Aston Villa ended their nine-match winless run on Tuesday night as they beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park thanks to Christian Benteke's first-half strike.

Brad Guzan 7/10 – Had a shaky start when he spilled Yannick Bolasie’s relatively straightforward shot, but recovered from there with countless stops to keep his side in contention for the three points.

Alan Hutton 6/10 – Struggled to contain the pace and power of Bolaise, as expected, but did a better job than most rival right-backs have managed so far this season.

Jores Okore 7.5/10 – A rock at the back, as his strength proved too much for the Palace attack to break through. God knows how Lambert didn’t bring him back into the first-team sooner when he was reported to be fit.

Ciaran Clark 8/10 – Another excellent performance from the Republic of Ireland international, whose partnership with Okore looks to be blossoming into something special. Given his recent resurgence, it might prove difficult for Lambert to drop him once Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos return.

Aly Cissokho 6/10 – Given a few fairly uncomfortable moments by Wilfried Zaha, who pinned him back in defence, but managed to frustrate the Manchester United loanee as the match wore on.

Ashley Westwood 6/10 – A bit careless in possession but looks to be improving in defence, holding his own when Villa where pinned back for extended periods.

Tom Cleverley 5.5/10 – Distributed the ball well, as usual, but offered few moments of note. It didn’t help when he was pushed out onto the left-wing, though.

Andreas Weimann 5/10 – Produced a late save from Julian Speroni but that was about all he offered over the course of the 90 minutes.

Joe Cole N/A – Limped off injured after just nine minutes, coming as a big blow after his encouraging goal-scoring performance on the weekend.

Gabby Agbonlahor 6/10 – Failed to offer much in attack with Villa on the back foot for most of the match, but worked hard to close down the Palace defence and when tracking back.

Christian Benteke 7/10 – Didn’t see as much of the ball as he would have liked, but marked his return to the line-up with a fine finish just after the half-hour, running half the length of the pitch to shoot past Speroni for what proved the winning goal.

SUBSTITUTES

Carlos Sanchez (Cole 9) 6/10 – Slotted in well in midfield after coming on for Cole, going about his defensive duties in reliable fashion. Could argue he shouldn’t have dropped to the bench in the first place.

Kieran Richardson (Cleverley 89) N/A

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