Stoke v Aston Villa: Stoke to close ground on top half rivals

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Aston Villa and Stoke are separated by just one point in the Premier League and will be taking up their preferred dressing rooms when they meet this weekend, with Stoke in the home and Villa occupying the away. The result? Their strengths being nullified to a draw.

Playing at the Britannia gives Stoke the slim advantage in the betting to win the match at 5/4, with both the draw and a Villa win given an equal 11/5 chance of being the final outcome.

However it is the stalemate that should be sided with as Stoke’s love for playing in the Potteries is cancelled out by Villa’s penchant for escaping their confines.

If the league table was formed on home games alone then Stoke would sit a respectable ninth place, just two points off a spot in the top six, with 13.
Meanwhile, if all that mattered were points collected on the road, then Aston Villa’s 12 would have them sitting in a Europa League spot.

With the teams so evenly matched in their respective positions of strength the evidence to support a draw stacks high.

Mark Hughes’ men have only lost once in front of their own fans and have drawn four times, which is their most common result at the Britannia. Conversely, Paul Lambert has seen his side lose just twice while he’s sat in the visiting dugout.

These two have found it difficult to wrestle the full complement of points from each other in recent meetings too, with four of the last six increasing their total in the final column of the table by one.

In fact, there’s only been one meeting between these two that’s been settled by a margin of victory greater than one goal in the last 12, making the 29/10 on Stoke winning by one and 4/1 on Villa achieving the same feat delicious side bets.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.