Stoke vs Aston Villa – Pulis eyes first win against erratic Villa

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Stoke could hand debuts to deadline day signings Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jermaine Pennant and Marc Wilson as they search for a first win of the season against Aston Villa.

Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen missed Denmark’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Iceland on Tuesday with an elbow injury, but he is expected to be fit to face his former employers at the Britannia Stadium.

Without a point so far this season, the Potters will be desperate to record their first victory of the campaign, and Tony Pulis’ men are 6/4 break their duck against an inconsistent Villa side.

Aston Villa have not won at Stoke since 1984, though in more recent meetings the sides have been evenly matched.

Since Stoke won promotion to the Premier League in 2008, each side has one victory each, while there have been two draws between the sides. With this in mind, the draw seems to be worth backing at 23/10.

Despite being recently unveiled as the new Villa manager, Gerard Houllier will not be in charge for this fixture, and Stoke may be glad not to see the Frenchman in the dugout – the last time Houllier was at the Britannia ten years ago, his Liverpool side won 8-0.

Winless in their first three matches, Stoke are priced at 7/2 to be relegated this season, though alarm bells will not be ringing just yet.

The Potters have not lost their first four games of a season since the 1906-07 campaign, but perhaps ominously, they were relegated that season.

In a bizarre start to the term, Villa have beaten West Ham and Everton 3-0 and 1-0, yet they were humiliated 6-0 at Newcastle. They are 9/5 to claim a first away win of the season at the Britannia.

Who do you think will strike first? Stoke’s new signing Eidur Gudjohnsen is 7/1 to break the deadlock. See the full Stoke City vs Aston Villa Match Betting Odds market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.