Jean-Philippe Mateta hat-trick ensures Crystal Palace end season on a high

Jean-Philippe Mateta’s hat-trick capped off an emphatic 5-0 victory for Crystal Palace over Aston Villa and inspired his side to equal both a best-ever 10th-placed and 49-point Premier League finish.

The Frenchman, who has now scored nine times in the Eagles’ last eight matches, became just the second Palace player to score three in a Premier League contest, and the first to do so at Selhurst Park.

Mateta opened the scoring for Oliver Glasner’s side nine minutes after kick-off adding another before the break but had a fourth chalked off in the second half.

Eberechi Eze’s brace buried any hope of a Villa comeback, adding to Palace’s highest goal tally, 57, to close out a campaign that was at one point characterised by concerns about their attack.

While there was little for Unai Emery’s Champions League-bound side to cheer about, one exception for the Villa boss was the sight of his goalkeeper son Lander, named among his father’s substitutes for the final day of the campaign.

Jefferson Lerma and Marc Guehi both returned to Glasner’s matchday squad, the former starting on the bench after a month out and the latter making his first start since February.

Early chances were few and far between before Dean Henderson punched away Douglas Luiz’s cross free-kick five minutes after kick-off.

Mateta then extended his club-record hot streak, collecting a short pass from Olise before sweeping past Robin Olsen as Palace opened the scoring for an 11th time in 12 contests played under Glasner.

The strike stood after a VAR check, and the hosts remained unscathed after a sprawling Henderson denied Moussa Diaby with an outstretched arm, while his next side netting-bound effort was from too tight an angle to pose any real danger.

Ollie Watkins tried next, nodding threateningly towards the bottom right but off target, and while the Eagles would soon patiently control the ball at the edge of the penalty area, Eze could only send his attempt straight at Olsen.

The Villa keeper could do little to stop Mateta from tapping Daniel Munoz’s fine delivery under the crossbar from close range in the 39th minute, while Olsen got his fingertips on a late Olise effort to prevent his side from falling further behind before the break.

Eze, who alongside Olise could well be lured away from south London this summer, made it three nine minutes after the restart, firing past the near post from the edge of the area.

Olise narrowly missed proving again just how much he could be missed, sending an effort just wide, but Mateta made it four for the hosts when he latched onto Eze’s cutback and fired home.

The Frenchman had the ball in the back of the net again, but unlike his third goal, which had been given after a VAR review, a potential fourth was chalked off for offside in the build-up.

Instead it was Eze who would bag his brace in the 69th minute, Mateta turning provider with a backheel to set up his team-mate’s low finish from just outside the 18-yard box, then nearly made it three of his own but directing an effort narrowly wide.

Soon came Glasner’s first substitutions, Lerma for Guehi and Odsonne Edouard for Mateta, while the departing Jairo Riedewald and James Tomkins enjoyed their final minutes as Eagles.

Whether the same is true of Eze – who was taken off two minutes from normal time and showed his appreciation for the fans’ rousing ovation – remains to be seen.