Five things learned from Aston Villa's win over Crystal Palace

Villa Park 6

Remi Garde's men claimed their first Premier League victory since the opening day of the season on Tuesday night as they beat the Eagles 1-0 at Villa Park.

Bunn has chance to be No. 1

While Mark Bunn may not be a long-term option for Villa between the posts, he certainly has a chance to establish himself in the line-up for the second half of the season.

The 31-year-old goalkeeper kept his place over the under-fire Brad Guzan after starting Saturday’s 1-1 FA Cup third round draw at Wycombe Wanderers, and while he did not have much to do over the course of the night, he did seem to command his area with a great deal more confidence than his American counterpart has over the past 18 months.

Recent reports have claimed that the club are interested in bringing in a new No. 1 this month, but given their current predicament at the foot of the table, Remi Garde could well face a tough task in attracting any of his potential targets to the Midlands.

In the meantime, Bunn will likely make second straight start against high-flying Leicester City this weekend after a solid clean sheet, and if he impresses again, then he could be set for an extended run in the side.

Okore and Lescott the best centre-back pairing

Garde has experimented with a few centre-back pairings since he replaced Tim Sherwood at the helm in November, but the Palace game reaffirmed that the combination of Jores Okore and Joleon Lescott is his best option.

The two stoppers have now partnered each other in the heart of defence on five occasions since the start of December, with Villa recording one win, three draws and one defeat over those games, while also conceding just five goals in the process – a 2-0 home loss to Arsenal being the lone blip.

It’s clear at this stage that Micah Richards is a far better option to start at right-back than centre-half, while Okore’s pace and physicality seems to complement Lescott’s leadership and experience perfectly.

Ayew and Veretout prove criticism of foreign signings absurd

Villa’s policy of targeting untried foreign players in the summer transfer market has faced plenty of questions over recent months amid the club’s plight, but critics need only see how Jordan Ayew and Jordan Veretout have swiftly become the heart and soul of the team.

The former Ligue 1 stars have been the club’s two standout performers since Garde’s arrival, having shone through for their skill, creativity and work rate, while Jordan Amavi would likely be right up there too had his campaign not been cut cruelly short by a serious knee injury.

The pair admittedly endured slow starts to life in England, but if anything, it’s the more experienced players who have been letting the side down lately.

Kozak can and should have a role under Garde

While Garde has previously declared that Libor Kozak is free to leave Villa in January, the Czech striker’s contribution to the Palace win suggests he may yet have a future at the club.

Making his fist Premier League start since December 2013, the 26-year-old fan favourite battled his heart out for the entire 90 minutes, and while he stills looks somewhat rusty in front of goal, he certainly offered much more to the attack than the dropped Rudy Gestede.

The former Lazio man’s superior movement and ability on the ball simply makes him a better fit than his towering teammate for the team’s style of play, while there can be little doubt about his commitment to the cause either.

Villa may go down, but not without a fight

While Villa still face an incredibly tough task in overhauling the eight-point gap between themselves and safety, Tuesday night’s spirited display proved that they at least have the ability to make a good fist of it.

After back-to-back defeats to Norwich City and Sunderland, respectively, earlier this month, there was talk that Derby County’s unwanted Premier League record of a season-low 11 points could be under threat, but it now looks like we can put those suggestions to bed.

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