Stoke vs Aston Villa by 20Legend
Stoke is on a great 10th place at the table with 36 points after 10-6-10 and 27:32 on goal difference this season. However, their form has not been nearly good enough through their last five matches (1-1-3) which has given them four points and 3:10 on goal difference. Despite those facts, Stoke has now had a solid two weeks in order to prepare themselves for another game in the Premier League this season. If it had not been for their lacking defensively, Stoke would have actually been up among the teams to fight for Europa next season, having actually won more league games than 5th placed Manchester United so far this season. Stoke is now entering an important 14 days as their next two opponents will be against Bournemouth today and Newcastle next weekend, both matches at home. With six points from these two games, it is not impossible to be up for a fight for getting into Europe next season after all. Their main problem has been to score enough goals and especially in close games. With 11 games without a goal so far this season is not putting them in a celebrate company as Aston Villa has the same number. Stoke has a various 5-2-5 at Britannia Stadium this season with 13:13 on goal difference.
Stoke will truly miss their captain Ryan Shawcross who is injured together with Geoff Cameron. Marc Muniesa and Phil Bardsley will be tested before the match and are therefore doubtful. However, Marko Arnautovic has recovered from his illness and is expected to start again.
Aston Villa is rock bottom this season with a terrible record of 3-7-16 and 20:46 on goal difference this season. With only 16 points in 23 games it looks like game over already despite the fact that it is 12 games left of the season. It is already a gap of eight points up to the nearest safe-spot and it should be difficult given their performances this season. Even though a slight hope came along the supporters during a period in January, things have been brought back down lately. Aston Villa did get 2-2-0 in that period in January, but 1-0-3 and the huge loss against Liverpool (0-6) last time out, has brought everything back to normal before today’s match. It is no surprise that Aston Villa have struggled in both ends this season, with only 20 goals it will be hard to stay in this division and it should not be any easier scoring when coming to Britannia with that sort of offensive record. It will be positive for them that striker Gabriel Abonglahor has recoverd from his illness and Rudy Gestede is also returning after his hamstring-injury. However, Libo Kozak and Adama Traore are both injured.
Stoke is definetley having some defensive worries going into this game, but they should be able to cope with that in terms of having various options further ahead on the pitch. Aston Villa has 1-3-9 and 10:26 on goal difference to show for away from home, which means that they cannot be given any favorable position no matter how many injuries Stoke is having at the moment. It may not be a feast of a game here today, but I think that Stoke will take a win at Britannia again.