Preview: Stoke City (v) Aston Villa – Simply show some fight & don’t dare repeat Liverpool.

The official site has been pumping out the usual post match drubbing rhetoric about “going again”, “bouncing back” and topping it off by lining up players to say how they still “believe”.  Well, we will believe when our club actually believes.

But that ship has sadly, almost sailed.

As I must write almost weekly now, it is by some miracle that we are not cast even further adrift.  This is both a reflection of quite how many poor teams are near the foot of the table and an indictment of just how bad we have been this season to not claw our way out.

The facts speak for themselves and point to a difficult afternoon for ourselves.  Stoke’s victory away at Bournemouth last time out ended a period of form that has seen them nosedive.  This dip was after a generally decent season of performances and results following strong summer recruitment; Villa hierarchy take note.

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Most telling is their home form which is largely strong.  Wins against Man City & Man Utd as well as drawing with Arsenal in their last 6 at the Britannia, with 50% won over the same period.  Decent.

We were in slightly better form, marginally, but are now haunted by an absolute meltdown to Liverpool.  The big concern was the manner of our collapse and resignation to the drubbing we took.  It could have been much worse than six.  

Garde has done little to impress on the road since taking over from Sherwood, with abject away performances at Norwich & Sunderland resulting in tame defeats.  Draws against Southampton, Newcastle and West Brom improve the outlook slightly, as did the early signs against West Ham before Ayew’s early bath.

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The fact is we have no win’s in our last 6 away from home, when only a win will do.  At the very least I hope we muster some fight, which is an attribute that may not change this season’s outcome but is something we need to remember how to do.

Predictions:

At best a low scoring draw.  At worst, given out defending, I fear defeat by two clear goals.

Reverse Fixture:

Aston Villa (0) v (1) Stoke City (3rd October 2015)

Positive memories of Matthew Lowton’s wonder strike in 2012/13:

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