Date: August 16, 2014
Venue: Britannia Stadium, Stoke-On-Trent, England
Time: 15:00 BST
Stoke versus Aston Villa may not be the glamour fixture in the Premiership this weekend, but it will be interesting to watch as these are two sides who are looking to go past just battling relegation this season and who have reinforced well in the transfer window.
Phil Bardsley, Mame Biriam Diouf, Steve Sidwell, and especially Bojan Krkic are quality signings for the Potters. Phillipe Senderos, Aly Cissokho, and Kieran Richardson have been the key signings for Villa and those three should be good enough to prevent Villa from having to contend with fighting relegation this season.
Stoke City: L-D-D-W-D
Off the field Stoke may have had an excellent summer, but on the field their preseason has been underwhelming. They have only won one game so far. But they will be bolstered by the fact that they haven’t lost in their last four games, and recently defeated Real Betis 2-0 and tied Freiburg 1-1.
Aston Villa: W-L-L-W-D
Aston Villa’s preseason form has been much better than Stoke’s, despite having lost 2 of their last four games (including being thrashed 4-1 to Groningen). They have played 7 friendlies, won four and tied one. Their most recent result was 0-0 draw against Parma.
Stoke City: Bojan Krkic
With everyone in the world wandering how this move happened, expectation will be heavy on Bojan’s shoulders. Bojan’s first test will be tough, as he will have to come up against a physical Aston Villa side.
Aston Villa: Ron Vlaar
The Dutch center back just came off a lengthy run in the World Cup, and it will be interesting to see if he’s fully recovered or if he will once again look 1 yard slower for Villa than he does for Holland. With Stoke likely to mix up their attack and not just play direct, he will have to be quick enough to stop technical players like Bojan.
As this is the first game of the season, I expect this to be a tight encounter. Both teams appear to have equal quality on paper, but since Stoke’s playing at home I expect them to win 1-0. With bet365 offering 1.95. I urge you to take those odds as soon as you can before they shorten further closer to kick off.
Also look at SkyBet’s 1.66 for under 2.5 goals to be scored in the game.
Stoke win at 1.95 with Bet365
Under 2.5 goals at 1.66 with SkyBet