Premier League
Aston VillaAston Villa0StokeStoke City1

Aston Villa 0-1 Stoke City

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport
Marko Arnautovic
Marko Arnautovic's second goal of the season gave Stoke a second straight win

Marko Arnautovic scored the only goal to give Stoke a second successive win and leave Aston Villa cut adrift in the Premier League relegation zone.

Arnautovic, who also had an effort ruled out for offside, exploited a huge gap in the Villa defence early in the second half to finish off the post.

Villa created little bar a credible Jordan Veretout appeal for a penalty.

Tim Sherwood's side have not won since the opening day and lie 18th, four points from safety.

Relive Stoke's 1-0 win at Aston Villa

Read reaction to this and Saturday's other games

Muddled Villa?

Sherwood said after last week's defeat at Liverpool that his team were already in a relegation battle and, in an attempt to turn the tide, opted for a change of system.

Jack Grealish, who pledged his international future to England this week, was left on the bench as Sherwood employed a wing-backs system, one that left the hosts' forwards short of service.

Villa not good enough - Sherwood

When Grealish was introduced for Joleon Lescott at half-time, Villa reverted to a back four, with centre-halves Micah Richards and Jose Angel Crespo separated to provide space for Arnautovic's goal.

Villa may be right to feel aggrieved that they were denied a penalty when Cameron clumsily challenged Veretout in the first half, but, in truth, they were toothless for large periods, managing only two shots on target.

They are without a win at home all season and have taken only 71 points from their last 74 games at Villa Park, a run that dates back to December 2011.

Average positions
The graphic shows the average position of each player. On the right, Stoke's front four were much closer together, inter-changing. On the left, Villa's front two were isolated, particularly when wing-backs were employed in the first half.

Stoke improvement continues

Some eye-catching summer recruitment saw Stoke bring in the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Affelay and Glen Johnson to the Britannia Stadium, but an early run of six games without a win did not match the pre-season optimism.

Performance we were looking for - Hughes

However, on the back of victory over Bournemouth last week, Stoke claimed their third successive win at Villa Park and extended an unbeaten run at Villa that goes back to 2009.

Without the injured Shaqiri, the trio of Arnautovic, Bojan and Jon Walters inter-changed behind Mame Biram Diouf to create regular problems for the Villa defence, while at the other end a solid rearguard resulted in the Potters' first clean sheet of the season.

Arnautovic was perhaps unfortunate to have a first-half effort ruled out - he looked to be level with the last defender before volleying past Brad Guzan - but there was no doubt about his second-half strike, played into space by Johnson before finishing from the corner of the six-yard box.

The only sour note for City was a late injury to Diouf, who left field on a stretcher.

Adam almost does it again

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam found the net with a wonder goal against Chelsea in April, collecting the ball inside his own half and lobbing Thibaut Courtois from 65 yards.

The Scot almost embarrassed Guzan in similar fashion, unleashing a left-footed effort from deep inside his own half, not even as far advanced as the centre circle.

Guzan just managed to scramble back, leaping to tip the ball around the post.

"It was on and I felt it might have been close. I thought it was in and he did well to get back," said the Scot.

Adam has now provided the goalkeepers of the Premier League with plenty of warning about wandering off their line.

Charlie Adam
The graphic shows where Charlie Adam was when he took the shot that almost beat Brad Guzan

Man of the match - Marko Arnautovic

Marko Arnautovic
The Austrian was involved in all of Stoke's attacking play and provided the one moment of real quality.

What they said

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood: "I am very disappointed, we needed to win the game at home to a team that we could have leapfrogged.

"We failed to capitalise and it was not good enough. I think a draw would have been a fair result, both teams were average.

"The situation is getting worse, it is alright saying ifs, buts and maybes, but we are not picking up the wins and that is why we are down near the bottom of the league.

"We are all in this together but as the manager I take all the responsibility.

"I will use the international break to get my players fitter because they are not fit enough yet to play the way I want them to play. For some of them it will be like a mini pre-season."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "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 thought 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."

The stats

  • Aston Villa have registered only one victory in their eight Premier League meetings with Stoke at Villa Park, losing the last three.
  • Aston Villa's last four Premier League games have all ended in defeats by a one-goal margin; equalling the joint-longest such run in PL history (four in a row).
  • Villa have picked up just one point in their last seven Premier League games, drawing one and losing six.
  • Tim Sherwood has now lost as many Premier League games (19) as he has won (19).
  • Stoke have won their last two Premier League games - this after winning just two of their previous 11 in the competition.
  • Five of Marko Arnautovic's seven Premier League goals have come away from home.

What's next?

It does not get easier for Villa. After the two-week international break, they face a daunting trip to Chelsea on Saturday, 17 October (15:00), while Stoke go to Swansea on the following Monday evening.

Line-ups

Aston Villa

  • 1Guzan
  • 33Crespo
  • 4Richards
  • 16LescottSubstituted forGrealishat 45'minutes
  • 21Hutton
  • 17Veretout
  • 15WestwoodBooked at 44minsSubstituted forGilat 75'minutes
  • 8Gueye
  • 23Amavi
  • 9SinclairSubstituted forJ Ayewat 59'minutes
  • 39Gestede

Substitutes

  • 7Bacuna
  • 18Richardson
  • 19J Ayew
  • 24C Sánchez
  • 25Gil
  • 31Bunn
  • 40Grealish

Stoke

  • 1Butland
  • 8Johnson
  • 20Cameron
  • 26Wollscheid
  • 3Pieters
  • 16Adam
  • 6Whelan
  • 18DioufSubstituted forJoseluat 86'minutes
  • 27BojanSubstituted forAfellayat 58'minutes
  • 10ArnautovicSubstituted forVan Ginkelat 69'minutes
  • 19Walters

Substitutes

  • 5Muniesa
  • 7Ireland
  • 11Joselu
  • 14Afellay
  • 15Van Ginkel
  • 24Given
  • 25Crouch
Referee:
Mike Jones
Attendance:
33,189

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamStoke
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home13
Away12
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home9
Away5
Fouls
Home12
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 0, Stoke City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 0, Stoke City 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa).

  4. Post update

    Marco Van Ginkel (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Philipp Wollscheid.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  8. Post update

    Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Marco Van Ginkel (Stoke City).

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Carles Gil.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ibrahim Afellay (Stoke City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Charlie Adam.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Idrissa Gueye (Aston Villa).

  13. Post update

    Marco Van Ginkel (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jordan Ayew (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jordan Veretout.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Joselu (Stoke City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Glen Johnson.

  16. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Stoke City. Joselu replaces Mame Biram Diouf because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Delay in match Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) because of an injury.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa).

  20. Post update

    Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.