Both sides started as promotion favourites at the beginning of the season.
Now both Villa & Stoke sit awkwardly in mid-table.
Aston Villa travel to the Bet365 Stadium knowing that anything other than a win will effectively end any remaining hopes of making the top six.
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Our dreadful run since the turn of the year has left Villa facing a make or break encounter this Saturday afternoon against under-performing Stoke City. For some the chance has already gone with the defeats to Brentford and West Brom.
Villa now need an almost flawless finish to the season to make the play offs, with any suggestion of automatic promotion ruled out much earlier in the campaign.
In an interview with the official site this week Tyrone Mings said that the Aston Villa squad knows what is required to turn around a recent dip in results.
We are now a remarkable nine points off the play offs with thirteen games remaining and know wins must come quickly in order to close that unacceptable gap.
Mings said “we need to pull together in the same direction and ultimately try and achieve the same goal at the end of it.”
With only two wins in the last thirteen games, Villa are only performing marginally better than the Potters who have only won one out of their last eleven outings.
In this week’s press conference at Bodymoor Heath, Villa manager Dean Smith made reference to John McGinn being an absentee for the Stoke game after receiving 10 yellow cards – the former Hibs man will therefore be banned for the next two clashes.
Smith said “John will be a miss as he has be one of our best players since i arrived at club but will free up opportunities for other members of the squad to be available.” Quite who can adequately step up in McGinn’s absence remains to be seen.
Dean Smith hopes to have goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic available for the clash with Stoke City. Kalinic was substituted at half time in the derby clash with West Brom after taking a knock to the head.
Tom Carroll is back in training after missing out against Sheffield United, Brentford and West Brom. However the clash at the Bet365 stadium will come too soon for the central midfielder.
Jack Grealish, who has been out for over two months, is making very good progress and continues to build up his fitness on the training field before being reintroduced into the team.
See all the injury updates here.
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My prediction is that it is going to be a tight affair with both teams going toe to toe with each other and fighting for the three vital points. Villa are around 5/2 to secure ann away win with bet365 bookies.
Prediction: Stoke 1 Villa 2 with( Tammy Abraham scoring both for Villa.)
- Aston Villa League position – 10th ( 44 points)
- Stoke City League position – 17th ( 40 points)
- Villa have only won one in 10 in all competitions
- Stoke have only won one championship game in 12
- Stoke haven’t scored in their last two games at home
- Villa league form – DWDDLL
- Stoke league form – WLLLDD