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    Aston Villa 0 - Stoke City 1 Match Report

    Marko Arnautović seen here celebrating the goal that gave Stoke the win.
    There is an old adage about having to wait long for one but then two coming along all of a sudden. After only getting their first win of the Premier League season last week Stoke City claimed a second consecutive win in the league thanks to Marko Arnautović's composed finish on 55 minutes. The Austrian international was pivotal in all of Stoke's positive attacking play & he will feel aggrieved that he didn't finish the afternoon with two goals after he had a goal harshly disallowed in the first half.

    Defeat for Aston Villa means that the search for a home win in the league goes on & if you stretch back even further they have only amassed 71 points from their last 74 games at Villa Park. Coupled with the fact that Villa have only one win to show against Stoke in eight Premier League encounters & the win for the away side on Saturday meant that they have now won the last three. This win came without club record signing Xherdan Shaqiri but in his absence Arnautović certainly took the mantle linking up well with Bojan Krkić, Jonathan Walters & front man Mame Biram Diouf who scored on this ground in the corresponding fixture last season but had a less memorable experience on this occasion after having to leave the pitch injured.

    The home side barely troubled Jack Butland's goal apart from a penalty claim which was turned down. Stoke City clean sheets, most notably away from the Britannia are rare occurrences & though Stoke's defence was more efficient than spectacular a large portion was down to Villa's insipid attack & lack of a cutting edge. Tim Sherwood was honest enough in his post match comments to echo those sentiments whilst also acknowledging that he himself does not know his best team, formation & system. What would Sherwood exchange for some of the trickery that Mark Hughes has at his disposal, especially after seeing Charlie Adam attempt another audacious long range shot from inside his own half akin to his memorable goal at Chelsea back in April. Though on this occasion Brad Guzan was able to avoid the embarrassment.

    However, despite Adam's inventiveness there was only one player in the Stoke rank who deserved the title of chief creator as highlighted by his manager's comments after the game. "I was pleased with what we produced, it was a performance that we have been looking for. The first half was some of the best stuff we have played in terms of controlling the game.

    "In the second half, we knew they would come at us, but we defended really well.

    "I though Marko was excellent today, offensively and defensively. He puts a shift in. It wasn't an easy chance, but thankfully he took it.

    "It would have been hard to take had we not taken maximum points today and now we have a lot of time to prepare for the next game at Swansea."

    It certainly wasn't a easy chance, but one that he made look easy, a sign of a top player & everyone at Stoke will be hoping that theres more to come.

    Lineups:

    AVL: Guzan, Crespo, Richards, Lescott (Grealish - 45), Hutton, Veretout, Westwood (Gil - 75), Gueye, Amavi, Sinclair (Ayew - 59), Gestede Subs: Bacuna, Richardson, Sánchez, Bunn.

    STK: Butland, Johnson, Cameron, Wollscheid, Pieters, Adam, Whelan, Walters, Krkić (Afellay - 58), Arnautović (Van Ginkel - 69), Diouf (Joselu - 86) Subs: Muniesa, Ireland, Given, Crouch.

    Referee: Mike Jones

    Statistics

    Possession:

    AVL: 57% STK: 43%

    Shots off target:

    AVL: 11 STK: 7

    Shots on target:

    AVL: 2 STK: 5

    Corners:

    AVL: 9 STK: 5
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    Item Reviewed: Aston Villa 0 - Stoke City 1 Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Bola Williams
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