Stoke City v Aston Villa

26 Feb

Marko Arnautovic of Stoke


Austria international Marko Arnautovic missed Stoke’s last game because of illness

TEAM NEWS

Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic has recovered from the illness that caused him to miss the victory at Bournemouth.

Ryan Shawcross remains unavailable because of a back problem, while Marc Muniesa and Phil Bardsley are nursing minor injuries and will be assessed.

Aston Villa forward Rudy Gestede is fit after a four-match absence with a hamstring injury.

Gabby Agbonlahor has recovered from the dizzy spell that forced him off during the 6-0 defeat by Liverpool.

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Alan Green: “Those Villa fans infused with eternal optimism will point to Leicester City’s similar predicament last season when the current LEADERS of the Premier League had only 19 points from 29 games: Villa have 16 from 26. So, if Leicester can do it…

“Sadly, I think they’re dreaming. That appalling 6-0 home defeat by Liverpool may turn out to be the lowest point so far for Remi Garde’s side but all reason says that relegation will follow.

“And though Stoke have had a sticky patch of their own, only seven points from the last seven games, I’m convinced the upward trend under Mark Hughes will resume and they’ll end up comfortably in the top 10. I expect a home win.”

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Aston Villa manager Remi Garde: “I don’t see the commitment from all the players every day in training sessions.

“If I had the choice of other players I would like to select, I would like to – but I don’t have the possibility.

“Sometimes it’s about fighting and commitment. It’s the first thing professional players should have on the pitch.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

I find Stoke a very difficult team to predict, unless they are playing Aston Villa – you have got to predict everybody to beat them.

Prediction: 2-0

Lawro’s full predictions v ‘Nobby Butcher’, aka Sacha Baron Cohen

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Villa points tally<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Stoke City have won four of the last five Premier League meetings.
  • However, Villa have won two of the last three encounters at the Britannia Stadium and could register successive victories at Stoke for the first time since 1906.

Stoke City

  • Stoke’s tally of 36 points is their joint-highest after 26 Premier League games, matching last season.
  • The 3-1 win over Bournemouth in their last match ended a run of three consecutive 3-0 defeats and six hours and 21 minutes without a goal.
  • They have only earned seven points from the last seven games (W2, D1, L4).
  • Stoke have failed to score in 11 Premier League matches this season. Villa and Newcastle are the only other clubs to have fared as badly.

Aston Villa

  • They are winless in 12 Premier League away matches since beating Bournemouth on the opening day of the season (D3, L9).
  • Villa have only scored four goals in their last nine away games in the division.
  • Remi Garde’s side are the division’s lowest scorers with 20 goals, including just six in the first half of matches.
  • Villa have scored with just 10% of their attempts on goal, the worst record in the division.
  • They have taken just four points (D4, L8) from 13 games against the current top 10.

SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by Professor Ian McHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.

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