Mar 23, 2014 at 4pm UK at ​Villa Park
Aston Villa
StokeStoke City
Benteke (5')
El Ahmadi (8'), Benteke (52'), Albrighton (73'), Bacuna (80'), Baker (82')
FT(HT: 1-3)
Odemwingie (22'), Crouch (26'), Nzonzi (42'), Cameron (90')
Palacios (24')

Match Analysis: Aston Villa 1-4 Stoke City

Peter Crouch (C) of Stoke celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Aston Villa on March 23, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole looks over just a second away win this season for Stoke City at Aston Villa.

Stoke City moved into the top half of the Premier League this evening, leapfrogging opponents Aston Villa thanks to a convincing 4-1 victory at Villa Park.

Home side Villa took the lead inside five minutes when Christian Benteke rifled home after good work from Fabian Delph down the left wing.

Stoke equalised somewhat against the run of play through Peter Odemwingie midway through the half before former Villan Peter Crouch completed a four-minute turnaround soon after.

Steven N'Zonzi scored Stoke's third before half time, with the Potters putting the game to bed late on through Geoff Cameron.

Here, Sports Mole dissects the action in the Midlands.

Match statistics

Shots: 12
On target: 3
Possession: 50%
Corners: 5
Fouls: 16

Shots: 10
On target: 5
Possession: 50%
Corners: 3
Fouls: 10

Was the result fair?

Oh yes. Although Villa were in front after just five minutes, from the moment Stoke equalised they were the more incisive of the two teams and deservedly picked up just their second away win of the season.

Villa's performance

After such a good start, with Benteke reaching double figures for the season, Villa really let the crowd down with a tame performance. They struggled to break down Stoke all game long and let themselves down defensively. You can look at all four goals and argue that they were completely avoidable from a Villa point of view. Granted, on another day Stoke might not have taken their chances but today they did and Villa paid the price for their complacency.

Stoke's performance

Mark Hughes must be over the moon with his side for scoring four goals for the first time this season. As stated above, they were helped by some dodgy Villa defending but still had to take their chances and boy how they did. They had three goals at half time from three shots on target. The front three of Crouch, Odemwingie and Marko Arnautovic had a good understanding and often looked menacing on the counter-attack with Crouch's aerial presence combining well with the pace and skill of the other two. Hughes will be annoyed at the way his side conceded early, but after that they were sound at the back.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Marko Arnautovic: It could have gone to any of the front three, but we're giving the nod to Arnautovic for his skilful display, capped with a clever step-over and cutback for Cameron's late strike.

Biggest gaffe

Nathan Baker didn't have a great afternoon in the Villa defence and his poor display was summed up by his failure to cut out Arnautovic's through-ball for the third goal. In fact, the young centre-back probably diverted it more into N'Zonzi's path!

Referee performance

Mark Clattenburg had a bad day at Old Trafford last weekend when Liverpool trounced Manchester United, but he was on much better form today. There were a lot of nasty tackles and six players - five from Villa - were booked. One of those was Benteke, who raged at Clattenburg when he thought he deserved a penalty but he went down far too easily.

What next?

Villa: Next up for Villa is a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Saturday.

Stoke: The Potters, meanwhile, return home to welcome Hull City in six days' time.

Peter Crouch (C) of Stoke celebrates with teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match against Aston Villa on March 23, 2014
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