Skip navigation
Crystal palace

      Report: History-making Palace thrash Villa to secure top-ten finish

      Crystal Palace
      Mateta 9' 39' 63'
      Eze 54' 69'
      Aston Villa

      A final day to remember at Selhurst Park saw a Jean-Philippe Mateta hat-trick and a brace from Ebere Eze power Palace to a historic 5-0 win over Aston Villa, setting a catalogue of club records and securing a top-ten Premier League finish in the process.


      • Glorious sunshine greets Palace’s bid for top-half finish in SE25
      • One change for Palace as Guéhi replaces Hughes in midfield
      • Olise slips in Mateta to give Eagles an early lead with seventh successive home goal
      • Henderson makes two fine stops from Diaby in quick succession
      • Guehi keeps out Watkins’ bouncing header on the line
      • Eze then tests Olsen’s handling in the Villa goal
      • Muñoz curls in cross for Mateta to scoop home second
      • Goal sees Palace set new record for top-flight league goals in a season (54)
      • Olise twice denied by Olsen on the stroke of half-time
      • HT: Palace 2-0 Aston Villa
      • Eze rockets in a third shortly after the restart
      • Olise places effort narrowly wide from Muñoz pull-back
      • Henderson and Eze then combine to set up Mateta’s hat-trick goal
      • First Palace league hat-trick since April 2015
      • Richards plays Mateta through moments later, but goal chalked out by VAR
      • Eze interchanges with Mateta and smashes in a fifth on 70 minutes
      • Eze places wide late on, and is denied by Olsen, as he seeks his own hat-trick
      • Tomkins and Riedewald come off the bench late on for final Palace appearances
      • FT: Palace 5-0 Aston Villa
      • Palace's joint-biggest Premier League win, plus combination of final-day results, sees the Eagles secure top-ten Premier League finish with joint-highest points tally (49)

      With Aston Villa having secured fourth place earlier in the week, Palace still had plenty to play for heading into the final game of the season.

      The Eagles had won five of their last six matches, defeating European contenders home and away in Liverpool, West Ham, Newcastle and Manchester United, and scoring 16 goals in that time to record their highest-scoring Premier League campaign ever. Two more against Villa would make it their highest-scoring top-flight league campaign ever (with 54).

      What’s more, if Palace emerged victorious and two other results went their way, they could end the season with a top-ten finish and a joint club-record Premier League points tally (a potential 49).

      True to recent form, the Eagles – welcomed to the pitch by a fantastic final-day display of flags, balloons and TIFOs from the Holmesdale, and a wall of noise consuming Selhurst Park – were at their opponents from the start.

      The only change to their starting XI saw the fully-recovered Marc Guéhi make his first start since the first weekend of February, replacing the injured Will Hughes.

      The England man was duly involved in the build-up to Palace’s opener after nine minutes, winning the ball high and combining with Michael Olise, who slid in Mateta. The forward stroked the ball across goal on his left foot, and duly found the bottom corner to set the party in full swing.

      The effort was Mateta’s seventh home goal in a row – but he wasn’t about to stop there.

      Admittedly, the goal then paved way for a flurry of Villa chances in quick succession; Dean Henderson, who had an excellent game, did superbly to keep out a Moussa Diaby with a low save – the Villa man clean through – and then reacted sharply to a volley from the same player which had skidded up off the turf.

      Moments later, Villa top goalscorer Ollie Watkins went close with a header from a corner which bounced up and threatened to find the top corner, but Guéhi adjusted brilliantly to nod the effort over his own crossbar.

      The next quarter of the game was quieter on the pitch, if not in the stands, as Selhurst Park basked in the early-summer sunshine and gave the players a full rendition of the Eagles’ signature songbook.

      With half-time approaching excellent defending from Joachim Andersen on the stretch prevented Watkins from taking a shot six yards out, but then – the seemingly inevitable at Selhurst Park: a Jean-Philippe Mateta goal.

      It was from more zippy play that it arrived, Adam Wharton with the line-breaking pass to Olise, who then played an incisive one out to Daniel Muñoz. The Colombian's low cross was pin-point, allowing Mateta to shovel the ball past Robin Olsen from close range.

      That goal saw the Eagles hit a landmark 54th in a top-flight season – their highest-ever total in such a league campaign – and they could have had two more by half-time, but for a fine pair of low stops from Olsen via the left boot of Michael Olise. The Eagles were cutting through Villa time and time again.

      Two goals to the good at half-time and Selhurst singing “three points again, olé, olé!” – and it was only going to get better in the second half.

      It started with a bang – typically so, from Eze. A Chris Richards pass on the halfway line took a kind deflection into the path of the No. 10, and as he advanced towards the box, Villa defenders backed off... duly allowing him to slam the ball into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area.

      Chances arrived in a flurry – Nathaniel Clyne made a brilliant solo run forwards, pulling back to Muñoz who crossed low. Olise placed a side-footed effort narrowly wide of the bottom corner.

      On 63 minutes: another milestone moment – a first Palace league hat-trick since Yannick Bolasie’s against Sunderland in April 2015. Henderson deserved a lot of credit for the goal, plucking a hanging cross out the air and bowling it forwards for Eze, who slid in Mateta. The forward took a touch and placed a finish across Olsen before taking n the acclaim of Selhurst Park.

      It could have been four just seconds later as Richards played the ball in for Mateta to finish one-on-one again – but this time, VAR ruled it out for offside.

      A minute later, an indisputable fifth. Andersen won the header on the halfway line and, Guehi played it to Eze, who exchangesd passes with Mateta - via a cute backheel - and then, from just inside the 'D', blasted it into bottom corner. Champagne football.

      There were to be more opportunities – Eze coming close to grabbing a hat-trick himself, pulling one effort across goal and seeing another rising drive beaten away by Olsen. But they would have to settle for five.

      The party continued three minutes from time when James Tomkins and Jairo Riedewald came off the bench for their last appearances in red and blue, at the end of eight and seven years’ service respectively – Selhurst Park, of course, rose to its feet in acclaim.

      There was to be one final tonic: the news that Brighton had lost at home to Manchester United, and Bournemouth had lost away to Chelsea.

      Crystal Palace’s sixth win in their last seven, unbeaten matches had seen them secure a top-ten Premier League finish in spectacular style.

      A special group producing another special day – what a day to be a Crystal Palace fan.

      Palace: Henderson (GK), Clyne, Andersen (Tomkins, 88), Guéhi (Lerma, 76), Richards, Muñoz, Mitchell, Wharton (Riedewald, 88), Olise, Eze (Ayew, 88), Mateta (Edouard, 76).

      Subs: Matthews (GK), Ward, Ozoh, Schlupp.

      Aston Villa: Olsen (GK), Konsa, Diego Carlos, Lenglet, Digne, Chambers (Iroegbunam, 68), Douglas Luiz, Dhuran, Diaby, McGinn, Watkins (Kellyman, 68).

      Subs: Gauci, Pau, Kesler-Hayden, Emery Fernandez, Munroe, Young

      As It Happened