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Premier League

  • 26 December 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 27739

Stoke City - Aston Villa Preview: Peter Crouch aiming for 100th career league goal against his former club

The 30-year-old forward is likely to overcome illness and start for Tony Pulis' men at the Britannia Stadium as the Potters look to bounce back from defeat to Manchester City



Huth, Woodgate, Shawcross, Wilson
Shotton, Whitehead, Palacios, Etherington
Walters, Crouch

Clark, Collins, Dunne, Warnock
N’Zogbia, Ireland, Petrov, Albrighton
Bent, Agbonlahor
Tony Pulis' Stoke side look likely to welcome Aston Villa on Boxing Day having been boosted by the return of Peter Crouch, with the England international having missed out on the midweek loss to Manchester City due to suffering from headaches. Ryan Shawcross is also set to start after being absent from the fixture with Roberto Mancini's men due to suspension.

However, the Potters are likely to be missing influential midfielder Glenn Whelan, who is struggling with a calf problem, and therefore Wilson Palacios should start alongside Dean Whitehead in the centre of midfield again.

Twelfth-placed Villa are also set for good news in the striking department with Darren Bent set to start for Alex McLeish's men after missing two games with a thigh injury and he will almost certainly partner Gabriel Agbonlahor in a two-pronged attack.

The Scot will have to do without Chris Herd however, as the young Australian is going to be out for at least a fortnight with an ankle injury. In addition, Alan Hutton is unavailable for selection after being sent off late on in the loss to Arsenal and Ciaran Clark should step in at right back.

  • If Peter Crouch does indeed start for Stoke against his old club, the 30-year-old needs only one more goal to reach his century in league football.
  • Tony Pulis' men have attempted the lowest amount of shots in the league this season (48).
  • This is the first time that the Potters have been in the top half of the Premier League at Christmas.
  • Aston Villa have never won a match at the Britannia Stadium.
  • If the Villans were to pick up a win in Staffordshire, it would be the club's 50th over the Potters.
  • Marc Albrighton got on the scoresheet against Arsenal in midweek to score the Premier League's 20,000th goal.
  • Alex McLeish's men have only one win in eight matches against top half opposition so far this season.
  • Villa's Christmas points tally of 19 is their lowest for over half a decade
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Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
8Jonathan WoodgateDefender
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
20Matthew UpsonDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
15Salif DiaoDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
10Cameron JeromeStriker
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
13Stephen WarnockDefender
5Richard DunneDefender
19James CollinsDefender
6Ciaran ClarkDefender
24Carlos Javier CuéllarDefender
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
12Marc AlbrightonMidfielder
19Stilian PetrovMidfielder
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
-Emile HeskeyStriker
33Andy MarshallGoalkeeper
32Stephen IrelandMidfielder
46Barry BannanMidfielder
35Daniel JohnsonMidfielder
38Gary GardnerMidfielder
14Nathan DelfounesoStriker
10Andreas WeimannStriker
Players to Watch
Matthew Etherington
Matthew Etherington
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Potters' reputation as a long ball side is certainly warranted on occasion but Villa would be foolish to overlook the likes of Matthew Etherington, who provide the brains behind the brawn. With Ciaran Clark looking set to start on the right of the Villa defence, the former Tottenham man will look to take advantage of the 22-year-old's inexperience.
Marc Albrighton
Marc Albrighton
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 12
Games Goals YC RC
2 0 1 0
Albrighton's goal grabbed the headlines following the tight defeat to Arsenal in midweek but the winger's performance was show-stopping in itself and if he moves into fifth gear down the flanks again, Tony Pulis and his men will be under serious threat.
Stoke had been in superb form prior to their loss against Manchester City and will be looking to get back on track by making the most of their stellar home run. However, Alex McLeish's men are a solid unit and will be tough for the Potters to break down so a tight affair with both sides sharing the spoils seems a likely outcome.
Editor's Prediction

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