After celebrating wildly scoring all three points on his debut as Villa manager against Brighton a week ago, the former Liverpool captain cheered again when Matt Targett Villa took a low drive through a pile of bodies from Ashley Young’s corner took the lead in the 15th minute.
When Palace tried to save something in the closing stages of the second half, John McGinn turned a nice shot from the edge of the box into the top corner to double the visitors’ lead against the game.
Palace managed to snatch late consolation for Marc Guehi in added time, but it wasn’t enough to contest Villa.
“Our first-half performance was excellent,” said Gerrard, who replaced Dean Smith as Villa manager earlier this month.
“I thought we were top in a lot of departments, but we knew we had to roll up our sleeves in the second half because Patrick would make changes. It was a fantastic away performance and I’m very happy with six points out of six.” until now.
“We have Man City in front of us so we can enjoy tonight but we will get to work as soon as possible tomorrow to prepare the team. We are happy with the start we made but there is still a lot left to do.”
The accompanying villa supervisors experienced a sovereign performance in bitterly cold conditions in south London, with McGinn, Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings having every chance for the guests in the first half after Targett’s start.
Palace should have scored the goal through Wilfried Zaha after the striker jumped past his marker on Villa’s edge, but his left-footed shot just went wide of the far post.
The Eagles saw a great chance to equalize after the denied break when referee Michael Salisbury whistled after a foul by Marvelous Nakamba on Zaha and missed Christian Benteke and Conor Gallagher’s lead.
Villa almost played the last quarter of the game with 10 men when substitute Douglas Luiz was red carded for a foul on Cheikhou Kouyate, which was downgraded to yellow after Salisbury consulted the field monitor.
The victory puts Villa in 11th place, tied with Palace in 10th place. Gerrard will next face Pep Guardiola when champions Manchester City travel to Villa Park on Wednesday.
“We know it will be tough,” added Gerrard. “But we will do our best. We are happy with our start, but there is still a lot to do.”
Another fight for Gerrard and Vieira
Gerrard said ahead of the game that former Arsenal captain Vieira was one of his toughest opponents while setting up Liverpool midfield and her first competitive game as manager was eagerly awaited.
Villa had only won once away this season – a 1-0 win over Manchester United at Old Trafford in September – and while it was a nervous end for Gerrard, his side were worthy winners.
Full-backs Matty Cash and Targett and Scottish midfielder McGinn were a constant threat to Villa, along with Young, 36, who is now the oldest player to assist the club in consecutive Premier League games.
For Vieira, one of his main tasks is certainly to improve his team’s ability to defend set pieces. Targett’s first-half goal was the tenth Palace conceded from a corner or free kick this season.
The Eagles now have to regroup and hope that Saturday’s defeat was only a temporary factor in an otherwise excellent home record this season.