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Premier League

  • 6 April 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 27544
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Stoke - Aston Villa Preview: Paul Lambert seeks vital win at out-of-form Potters

Amid poor attacking form, Tony Pulis looks to end his side’s three-game losing run & secure survival against a relegation-threatened Villans side with a poor defensive record

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

STOKE
Stoke City
Begovic
Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson
Shotton, N'Zonzi, Whelan, Walters
Jerome, Crouch
ASTON VILLA
  Aston Villa
Guzan
Lowton, Vlaar, Baker, Bennett
Sylla, Westwood, Bannan
Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor

Stoke have fielded a consistent back four throughout the season behind central midfield duo Steven N’Zonzi and Glenn Whelan, but left-winger Matthew Etherington (knock) is doubtful.

Versatile attacker Jonathan Walters could therefore continue on the left flank in his absence, with Cameron Jerome up front alongside Peter Crouch and Ryan Shotton on the right, but winger Michael Kightly and striker Kenwyne Jones are other attacking options.

Aston Villa could continue with Joe Bennett at left-back and Nathan Baker at centre-back as Ciaran Clark (shoulder) is doubtful, while fellow defender Richard Dunne (groin) is a long-term casualty, as are midfielders Gary Gardner (knee), Chris Herd and Marc Albrighton (both foot).

Paul Lambert has opted for Yacouba Sylla and Barry Bannan alongside Ashley Westwood in midfield of late, but Fabian Delph and Charles N’Zogbia are other options.

Andreas Weimann, Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor have impressed in attack but striker Darren Bent has recovered from injury and could feature at some point.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Stoke have won one and lost eight of their last 11 Premier League matches since the New Year in a worrying slide down the table and, having lost their last three matches, are now just four points above the relegation zone in 13th place.
  • The Potters have however lost just two of their last 22 home games in the Premier League, having gone 17 league matches at the Britannia Stadium unbeaten in 2012.
  • Tony Pulis’ side have scored the fewest goals (27) of any Premier League team this season, and have netted just one goal in their last five matches through a penalty from Jon Walters in a 2-1 defeat to Newcastle.
  • Aston Villa have slipped into the relegation zone on goal difference, despite winning two games in a row for the first time this season ahead of their defeat to Liverpool on Sunday.
  • Villa won their last away game 2-1 against Reading to end a run of seven without a win on the road.
  • The past four meetings between the two sides have ended in draws, with their meeting in December at Villa Park ending 0-0 with Ryan Shotton sent off late in the game. Paul Lambert’s side have not kept a single clean sheet in their 20 matches since that 0-0 draw.
  • Belgium international striker Christian Benteke (pictured, above) has struck 14 league goals so far this season and is the Premier League’s joint sixth top goal scorer.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
20Geoff CameronDefender
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
30Ryan ShottonDefender
15Steven N'ZonziMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
16Charlie AdamMidfielder
21Michael KightlyMidfielder
10Michael OwenStriker
25Peter CrouchStriker
10Cameron JeromeStriker
1Bradley GuzanGoalkeeper
4Ron VlaarDefender
29Joseph BennettDefender
2Nathan BakerDefender
34Matthew LowtonDefender
15Ashley WestwoodMidfielder
16Fabian DelphMidfielder
11Gabriel AgbonlahorStriker
20C. BentekeStriker
21Jordan Nathaniel BoweryStriker
10Andreas WeimannStriker
31Shay GivenGoalkeeper
43Eric LichajDefender
6Karim El AhmadiMidfielder
-Charles N'ZogbiaMidfielder
14Brett HolmanMidfielder
33Yacouba SyllaMidfielder
39Darren BentStriker
Players to Watch
Peter Crouch
Peter Crouch
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 25
Games Goals YC RC
4 0 1 0
All but one of Crouch’s six strikes in all competitions have come at the Britannia Stadium however, and on Saturday the 32-year-old’s neat touch, towering frame and experience could help his side break down the youthful Aston Villa and get the few points they need to secure survival.
C. Benteke
C. Benteke
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 20
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The 22-year-old’s hold-up play is key to Villa’s attack and although Stoke’s powerful back line could look to match him in the air, the striker also has pace and the confidence of netting in each of Villa’s last three league games.
Prediction

Tony Pulis’ side are on a dismal run having lost their last three matches and failed to score from open play in five matches. The Potters have, however, maintained strong home form and could have enough experience to hold the resurgent Aston Villa, who remain prone to defensive errors despite their recent improvement as they attempt to escape from the relegation zone.

Editor's Prediction

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