Stoke City v Aston Villa Preview | Team News, Stats and Key Men


On December 21st, Aston Villa travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City.  This is a clash of two teams hovering in mid-table spots but neither are too far of the relegation zone and will want to get three points to help distance themselves from the pit of the table.  With both teams coming off losses to Manchester United, they will both look to bounce back and grab a good three points.

Stoke City Vs Aston Villa

Team News

Both teams are dealing with injuries to their captains and will be looking for someone to step up in that leader role.  Stoke will be without Captain Ryan Shawcross and without his partner in the center of defence, Robert Huth.  Matthew Etherington will face a race to get fit before the game and Steven Ireland will be ineligible to play due to the fact that he is on loan from Villa.  Villa will be missing Jorges Okore, Joe Bennett and Charles N’Zogbia due to long term injuries.  They will also be without captain Ron Vlaar and the status of Chris herd is uncertain with his facial injury.

Interesting Statistics

After such a fantastic 2012-2013 season, Christian Benteke has been suffering from some second season syndrome and has not scored in 695 minutes. The last time Stoke beat Villa was in September of 2010.  four of the last five times these two have met the game has ended in a draw.  The last 10 times the teams have played,  there teams have averaged a combined 2.1 goals per game. Stoke only have one player, Charlie Adam, to score more than two goals this season showing Stoke’s big problem getting goals.

Key Players

CaptureIf Villa are going to be successful in this game and successful for the season, star striker Christian Benteke will need to start firing the way he did last season.  The big drop in Benteke’s game has been his finishing.  His chance conversion rate has gone down from 26% to 13% and his clear cut chance conversion rate has gone from 50% to 25%.  Last season, Benteke was a monster who could boss defenders and really do whatever he wanted scoring goals left and right.  Last season Benteke scored a goal every 149 minutes while this season that has dropped to a goal every 264 minutes.  Villa were very overdependent on Benteke last season, as he scored 40% of the teams goal, and since he is struggling Villa have been struggling.  After scoring at the Britannia last season, Benteke will hope he can bag a goal or two against Stoke and hope that it will jump start his season


If Stoke are to do well this season, Stoke will need Steven N’Zonzi to continue to step up and boss the midfield.  N’Zonzi has been a colossus in the midfield for Stoke winning possession and retaining possession consistently.  N’Zonzi has won possession back for Stoke every 11.43 minutes, 11th best in the league, and has won possession 126 times, fourth best on the league.  N’Zonzi has completed 88% of his passes helping Stoke retain the Stoke possession.  N’Zonzi will be that shield in front of the back four preventing balls getting to danger men, such as Benteke.  N’Zonzi will not roam very far forward, only winning possession three times in the attacking third, and will sit deep to protect the Stoke defence that will be missing at least one starter.  N’Zonzi has taken 138 more touches than any other Stoke player this season and has attempted 414 more passes than any other Stoke player.  N’Zonzi is clearly the most influential player in the Stoke midfield and will have to help win the midfield battle to help get Stoke a crucial three points.


This game is a game neither team will want to lose and will likely be played in a very conservative manner.  This is not traditionally a goal filled fixture with the outcome being a 0-0 two of the last four meetings.  Villa have actually been pretty formidable away from home, they have won three drawn three and lost two away, but Stoke have only lost once at home this season.  Neither team are very expansive in their play and will likely to try to stay organised and not try to get caught out of position.  This game is one of those game where it really looks like it will be a draw.

Prediction: 1-1 Draw


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here