Stoke vs Aston Villa preview: Crisis club Villa desperately chasing three points

A look ahead to the Premier League fixture at the Britannia Stadium

It’s a big game for…

Gabby Agbonlahor: The striker is set to start against Stoke after he was forced off early against Liverpool in the 6-0 drubbing to Liverpool. The Villains are short of attacking options and manager Remi Garde will be keen to play the long-serving Brummie. Garde has questioned the commitment of some players in recent days and Agbonlahor will be keen to show he is still fighting for the cause despite the club’s beleaguered position. 

Best stat…

Aston Villa have the lowest chance conversion rate in the Premier League this season, scoring just 10 percent of their shots.

Remember when…

Aston Villa were battling against relegation when Matt Lowton netted this screamer to steer his side towards their third win in four games, lifting them out of the drop zone. Widely tipped to win goal of the season, it was pipped to the post by Robin Van Persie’s corker against Villa themselves. 

Player to watch…

Gianelli Imbula: The French international has had a dream impact at the Britannia since moving to Stoke from Porto for a club record of £18.3million in January. Saturday’s game against Villa will mark his third appearance for the Potters, and after netting his first goal on English shores against Bournemouth two weekends ago, the Stoke faithful will be hoping to see more of his magic on show in this week’s game. Imbula’s style has been compared to that of Claude Makelele, so it will interesting to see what he has to offer as Stoke look to turn the corner from a recent run of form that has seen them win just once in their last five Premier League games. 

Past three meetings…

Aston Villa 0 Stoke 1 (Arnautovic), October 2015

Aston Villa 1 (Sinclair) Stoke 2 (Diouf, Moses), February 2015

Stoke 0 Aston Villa 1 (Weimann), August 2014

Form guide…

Stoke: WDLLLW

Aston Villa: WDDLWL

Vital information…

KICK-OFF TIME: 3pm

TV: BBC highlights

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