Sitting just six points above the relegation zone, Aston Villa will be searching for crucial Premier League points when they host Stoke City on Monday afternoon, as The Potters look the value bet at 5/2 to take the spoils.
Following the 1-1 draw at Liverpool on Saturday, Alex McLeish’s men are still looking over their shoulders at the bottom three. They are fully aware that teams at the bottom are fighting for survival and that they are one of the teams many hope to drag into trouble.
Villa’s recent form isn’t exactly that of a team that is set to put a run together though. They have only won one of their last nine Premier League games, while at home they have only managed three points on four occasions all season.
There is no doubt that it has been a frustrating campaign for Villa and their fans, but the main thing now is that they pick up enough points to remain in the league. Then they can think about how to improve things going into next season.
As for the visitors to Villa Park, Stoke have far less to worry about than Villa. Their 2-1 win over Wolves on Saturday moved them onto 41 points, a comfortable 13 points clear of the relegation zone.
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For Tony Pulis’ men, it is now all about finishing what has been a very long season – their Europa League campaign began in July – on a high note. Their aim will be to secure a top ten finish, no doubt about that.
In recent weeks, their most dangerous player going forward has been former Villa striker Peter Crouch. The 31-year-old has now scored 12 goals this season and would love to mark his return to Villa Park with another one.
Overall, there is no doubt that the pressure is on Villa for this one and the freedom Stoke can afford to play with could make them a dangerous opponent.