Crystal Palace couldn’t break down Aston Villa despite the fact Dean Smith’s side were down to 10 men for more than 45 minutes as they condemned the Eagles to a second consecutive defeat in a row.
Tyrone Mings received a red card towards the latter stages of the first half for fouling Wilfried Zaha but Roy Hodgson’s side failed to make the most of their numerical advantage.
But it is Palace’s struggles at the back that will no doubt be giving Hodgson a few sleepless nights as they have now conceded ten goals in their past two fixtures in a row across all competitions, which makes for pretty grim reading.
Without wanting to make too fine a point, Palace were nothing short of woeful at Villa Park, but Cheikhou Kouyate was one culprit in particular who was at fault for the dreadful defensive performance from the visitors as they couldn’t keep a clean sheet and ensured Hodgson’s side have failed to win four out of their past five games in the Premier League.
In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that he badly betrayed the Palace boss with his latest abysmal showing, as he struggled to cope with the constant pressure posed by Villa attacking duo Jack Grealish and Ollie Watkins.
As per SofaScore, he was given a low grade of 6.4 out of ten for his unconvincing efforts – a lower rating than Luka Milivojevic – as he was dribbled past twice, conceded two sloppy fouls, won just two out of his four aerial duels (50%) and couldn’t provide a single accurate long ball from three attempts as Palace tried to work their way back into the game.
The Evening Standard gave Kouyate a 6/10 and claimed he ‘didn’t make any glaring mistakes but collectively the defending was poor throughout’, while football.london were equally scathing in their assessment with a similar low score of 5/10.
While Grealish pulled the strings from midfield, the 31-year-old had an extremely difficult afternoon against the younger Watkins, who proved to be a constant thorn in Hodgson’s side despite drawing a blank.
Kouyate has been a reliable performer for the majority of the season so far but it was a hapless performance from the veteran defender. Not only was he lethargic, the lightweight was uncharacteristically anonymous too as he was beaten more times (2) than any other defender. Even Milivojevic, who seemed to be past his very best, was only beaten just the once.
With Gary Cahill ruled out due to injury, the stage was set for Kouyate to step up to the plate, but he largely failed to deliver by all accounts. Hodgson now faces some difficult decisions before the clash with Leicester City on Monday afternoon.