Relive how Aston Villa recorded an opening-day away win at Stoke City, courtesy of Sports Mole's minute-by-minute updates.
Hello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League match between Stoke City and Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium.
Andreas Weimann gave Villa all three points thanks to a well taken second half goal, but in truth it was a poor game in which Stoke failed to get any sort of rhythm going.
City boss Mark Hughes will be disappointed in the way things unfolded, with new signings Bojan and Mame Diouf both struggling on their debuts.
Read how the action unfolded below.
2.02pmGood afternoon and what a glorious one it is - the Premier League is finally back underway! The World Cup was brilliant, but this is what we've all been waiting for since early July and now it's here. Today we have live coverage of the clash between Stoke City and Aston Villa here on Sports Mole. 2.05pmThough it feels like Christmas, it's unlikely that you'd be happy to unwrap Mark Hughes or Paul Lambert from under the tree. However, I for one am absolutely delighted to see the pair of them again, and I'm holding out hope that Hughes' new-look Stoke outfit can impress at the Britannia Stadium today. 2.06pmThe team news is out, so lets have a look at the lineups: 2.08pmStoke City: Begovic; Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters; Whelan, N'Zonzi; Bojan, Ireland, Arnautovic, Diouf. 2.09pmAston Villa: Guzan; Hutton, Vlaar, Senderos, Cissokho; Westwood, Delph; N'Zogbia, Richardson, Weimann; Agbonlahor. 2.10pmStoke City subs: Sorensen, Huth, Muniesa, Adam, Walters, Sidwell, Crouch. 2.11pmAston Villa subs: Given, Baker, Clark, Bacuna, El Ahmadi, Bent, Grealish. 2.12pmSo interesting team news then, with a number of Stoke's new faces on show. Phil Bardsley looks to have wrestled the right-back spot away from the impressive Geoff Cameron, while Bojan features in the three behind the striker alongside Marco Arnautovic and Stephen Ireland. Up top, Mame Diouf will look to trouble Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos in the Villa back line. 2.14pmFor the away side, Senderos makes his competitive debut, as does Aly Cissokho at left-back. Cissokho struggled on loan at Liverpool last season, but he'll be hoping to make the most of his second chance at English football this year. Kieran Richardson also features from the beginning, having arrived from Fulham earlier this summer. 2.16pmOf course for Villa, their biggest loss is that of Christian Benteke, who missed the end of last season and the World Cup through injury. Much of their survival hopes rest on the shoulders of the big Belgian, so the sooner he can get back fit, the better. 2.17pmGabby Agbonlahor starts up front on his own today, supported by Richardson, Andreas Weimann and Charles N'Zogbia behind him. N'Zogbia was an absentee last term through injury, and his Villa future looked bleak. Clearly, Lambert thinks the winger still has something to offer. 2.23pmStoke's bench looks pretty strong too, with Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters and new man Steve Sidwell all on it. Villa's substitute options appear far weaker, with Darren Bent the only man likely to be able to come on a grab a goal should they need it. 2.30pmToday's sides have played each other 71 times over the years. Villa have won 29 matches, Stoke 24 and their have been 18 draws. 2.31pmLast season, Stoke won both league clashes between the pair, triumphing 2-1 at home, and 4-1 when they met at Villa Park in March. Despite Christian Benteke opening the scoring for Villa early on, they crumbled to some swift counter-attacking play from Hughes' men, with Peter Odemwingie, Wilson Palacios, Peter Crouch and Steven N'Zonzi all getting on the scoresheet. 2.33pmHughes led the Potters to a respectable 9th place in the league last term - their highest ever Premier League finish. With 50 points, they registered wins over Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United on their own patch, with their home form remaining one of the strongest assets. On the road, they were quite poor, with that victory over Villa one of just three that they won all season. That's an area they'll want to improve on this time around, but today you have to fancy them to take the points. 2.36pmVilla ended just five points clear of the drop zone, with Lambert under intense pressure towards the end of the campaign. He survived in the hotseat however, and will look to start as they did last year. They famously hit the ground running on opening weekend 2013, stuffing Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium. 2.38pmThe Sports Mole team actually previewed this game earlier in the week. Here's what they had to say:
2.40pmThe referee today is Anthony Taylor. Last term, Taylor handed out three reds and 66 yellows in 19 matches. 2.41pmUPDATE: Well, Louis Van Gaal's first game in charge of Manchester United certainly hasn't gone to plan, with the Red Devils being beaten at home 2-1 by Swansea City. A very interesting result, as many expected United to bounce back immediately under the Dutchman. 2.43pmOne thing that had been impressive about United was their preseason form. However, today proves it counts for nothing - which is good news for Stoke today. In 7 friendly games, Hughes' men have posted just one win - a 2-0 victory over Real Betis ten days ago. The Potters were beaten twice during their Germany tour in July, with their five other games ending in draws. 2.47pmFrom their seven exhibition games, Villa have won four, lost two, and drawn the last one, 0-0 against Parma last Saturday. Both FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo were on the receiving end of defeats to Lambert's men, as Villa toured the USA late last month. 2.51pmOne thing I haven't mentioned yet is the obvious back-room addition at Villa Park, where of course, Mr Roy Keane will be alongside Lambert in the dug out! The feisty Irishman has no doubt been giving the players the runaround during preseason training, but can he make a difference long-term? 2.53pmWe're less than ten minutes away from kick-off here and the Britannia is packed with red, white, and a lovely light blue strip, which I believe is the season's away number. It's one of the better kits this season, in my opinion. 2.55pmCaptains Shawcross and Vlaar are staring forwards in the dugout, not daring to acknowledge each other. You have to fancy one of them two to make the first bone-crunching challenge of the afternoon. 2.58pmBoth sides wear their home strips today, so we have Stoke's red and white stripes against Villa's traditional claret and blue. 0 minKICK OFF Villa get their league campaign underway, and it takes Diouf three seconds to concede a foul! 0 minStoke get the ball at the back and Shawcross immediately fires one long towards Diouf. The ball bounces off his head and easily into Guzan's grasp. 2 minVilla play the ball back to Guzan, whose heavy touch nearly puts him in trouble with Diouf baring down on him. 5 minVery slow start to this one, with Stoke finally putting together some nice play. Bojan and Arnautovic link up down the left, with the ball reaching N'Zonzi. The midfielder fires a low, weak effort Guzan's way, but it's never going to trouble the scoresheet. 7 minThis is a big opportunity for Bojan with Stoke. He didn't make the most of loan moves to Milan or Ajax after breaking into the Barca set up, but he's now got a chance to be a genuine star in the Premier League. 8 minCissokho is too strong for Bojan, who attempts to attack Villa down their left. 9 minSHOT: Well it's our first real attempt of the day, though it's not quite the best effort. Arnautovic picks it up on the left, cuts inside, looks for options and then simply decides to fire one at goal. It's high, wide, and again no trouble for Guzan. 11 minSHOT: Whelan wins it and plays it to Bojan. The Spaniard jinks forward, finds Arnautovic and darts into the middle for the return. Arnautovic's cross is too high, but the ball works its way back to the ex-Barca man, and he shoots wide of Guzan's near post. 13 minYELLOW CARD: Westwood puts in a very poor tackle on N'Zonzi, catching the Stoke man who requires treatment. The Villa midfielder cannot complain about picking up a booking there, he was very late. 15 minVilla get forward for the first time, with Cissokho delivering towards the back stick. Only a brilliant header from Pieters averts the danger. 16 minReferee Taylor calls for a retake of an Aston Villa corner. Shawcross pushing in the box? Surely not! Different season, same football we know and love! 18 minStoke look comfortable in possession, with Shawcross looking for N'Zonzi or Whelan early rather than fire straight up towards Diouf. 19 minJust as I say that they look at ease, there's a scramble in the Stoke box. Delph - who has far too much space down the left - crosses early, causing confusion. The wall of Shawcross and Wilson is one Villa cannot pass though and they hit it clear. 21 minDelph lands awkwardly on Bardsley. Initially I thought he'd taken an arm to the face, though on second look I think he landed badly and it's his knee that's causing him trouble. He's currently down receiving treatment. 24 minCHANCE: Gabby Agbonlahor really should give Villa the lead! Begovic rushes out to intercept Richardson, but the ex-Fulham man rounds him and cuts the ball back into the middle. With the goal gaping, Agbonlahor scuffs an effort wide. Though under some pressure from Shawcross, he will be disappointed to have missed that. 27 minA lot of fouls being committed in the middle of the park at the moment. There's a lack of goalmouth action at either end, with Agbonlahor's chance a few minutes ago the clearest chance so far. 28 minWestwood plays a free kick into the Stoke box. When it is knocked down, it falls to Cissokho. The left back takes aim but his effort is blocked quickly and the home side clear. 30 minDiouf doing some good work deep in his own territory. Although he shows a nice touch, Stoke won't want him anywhere near his centre backs in all honesty. 31 minWeimann pressures Wilson into conceding a corner kick. N'Zogbia swings it in, but it's far too deep and Stoke are almost able to break away. 34 minN'Zonzi and Whelan seem to be on top in the midfield battle against Delph and Westwood. However, when Stoke do get the ball and go forward, Diouf is nowhere near his teammates and they're struggling to mount any sort of attacks. 36 minA free kick falls to Delph, around 40 yards out. He swings his left foot at it and it sails high into the Britannia stands. Speculative, to say the least. 38 minVilla are looking the more positive side, attacking Stoke as quickly as they can when they win possession. Defensively, the hosts look a little hesitant, which is a surprise when you consider that this area is usually their strongest asset. 40 minThe atmosphere is also not what you'd expect from an afternoon in the Midlands. The saying "this game needs a goal" has never been more apt than here. 43 minExcellent move from Villa, and Weimann should score. Luckily for him, he's flagged offside. Delph found space in the middle, playing Cissokho in down the left. The defender whipped his ball across to Weimann, who couldn't guide his touch on target. The flag went up soon after. 44 minCHANCE! Bardsley tries his luck from distance, curling a left-footed shot at Guzan's goal. The American gets down to parry the ball into the air, then beats a lurking Bojan to the rebound. 45 minCHANCE! Wow, it's suddenly gone end-to-end, with Villa almost scoring now. Only desperate Stoke defending gets the ball clear, after Cissokho fires a shot which so nearly lands at the feet of Agbonlahor. Unlucky. 45+2 minN'Zonzi plays an outside of the foot pass for Diouf to chase, but it's too hard and that will be the end of the half I expect. 3.48pmHALF TIME: STOKE CITY 0-0 ASTON VILLA 3.51pmWell, that wasn't the most inspiring half of football, considering how much we'd all missed the Premier League. Chances or even attacks were few and far between, with both sides looking a little nervous on the season's first day. 3.53pmVilla forward Agbonlahor probably had the best chance after Richardson rounded Begovic and squared the ball. Aside from that, attempts have been off-target or fairly weak, with neither goalkeeper having to make a "proper" save so far. 3.54pmWe can only hope that both sides show a little more adventure after half-time. If Stoke can get Arnautovic and Bojan involved more, they'll surely be able to create chances. Diouf looks a little lost up front, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Peter Crouch introduced at some stage. 45 minThe home side get us underway again, and there were no changes for either side at half time. 46 minIt's Villa marginally on the front foot again, with Delph once more looking left to Cissokho. This time, his pass is overhit, but it's interesting how often they're looking to progress down their left hand side. 48 minBegovic shows solid hands claiming a catch after Richardson crosses from the right. 49 minWeimann gives Villa the lead from a tight angle, stinging the hands of Begovic on his way. In truth, it looked like his chance had gone after an awful first touch. However, he won the ball back, fired his shot across the goal, and the keeper could only palm it into the net. Good link up from Delph and Cissokho preceded the goal once more. 53 minVilla's confidence is up now, with Stoke looking increasingly frustrated. Hughes looks stern-faced, remaining seated in the dugout. 57 minStoke look very flat at the moment, and I think Hughes is going to have to bring Crouch on soon. Something has to change for them here. 59 minDiouf is all alone from a corner, and heads back across the face. Unfortunately, nobody gambles on the ball coming back that way, meaning the chance goes wide. 61 minLambert and Keane storm from the technical area, not happy with Stoke as the ball goes out. Back on the pitch, Weimann tangles with Bardsley in the box. The Stoke man claims penalty, but referee Taylor isn't interested. 63 minDelph beats Bardsley to the ball down the Villa left. He slips in Agbonlahor, who does well unsupported to win a corner. 64 minVlaar wins the header from the corner, beating Shawcross in the air. He cannot guide his effort downwards though, putting it well over Begovic's crossbar. 67 minPieters wins a free kick down the left, which Arnautovic takes. Instead of putting it into the area, he guides it to Bojan on the edge of the box. The Spaniard jinks past one man before firing it into an onrushing defender. Villa clear, and Agbonlahor wins a free kick himself. 68 minFrom Villa's kick, they do whip it in the box, with Senderos winning it. However, he clearly pushes Wilson in the back to do so, so Begovic can clear. 69 minSUBSTITUTE Diouf showing his best and worst traits in the space of five seconds, and he'll leave the field in place of Crouch. The forward had just beaten Cissokho for pace and strength, but a heavy touch took it out of play and he's replaced. 70 minSUBSTITUTE Villa make a change of their own, with youngster Jack Grealish coming on for Charles N'Zogbia. 73 minWhelan links well with Crouch and lays it back to Arnautovic. Ever the one to look for the spectacular, he shoots from a ridiculous angle. He's a good player, but boy he can be frustrating. Sometimes he needs to look for better options. 75 minCrouch looks far more likely to involve his teammates than Diouf did when he was on. 76 minStoke threaten with Pieters down the left but his cross is awful and it sails out of play. A waste. 78 minRichardson has looked pretty good today down the right for Villa. He's been labelled an uninspiring signing by many, though today he's looked sharp and often involved. 80 minCissokho fires his latest cross into Bardsley's foot, giving Villa another corner. The delivery is poor, allowing Stoke to break. 81 minThe game is looking more open now, with Stoke unsurprisingly searching for their equaliser. 81 minSUBSTITUTION Both sides make changes, with Leandro Bacuna coming on for goalscorer Weimann, and Stoke replacing Whelan with Charlie Adam. 81 minSUBSTITUTION Both sides make changes, with Leandro Bacuna coming on for goalscorer Weimann, and Stoke replacing Whelan with Charlie Adam. 83 minAdam immediately looks to get in the action, searching for Crouch. Villa clear, but the Scot then wins a dangerous looking free kick. 84 minThe ball drops wide when Shawcross tries to deflect the ball home from the resulting free kick. Chance gone. 86 minYou can't say Stoke have exactly thrown the kitchen sink at Villa here, and they're sloppy getting back as the visitors break away. When the ball reaches sub Bacuna in the box, he slices his effort high and wide when he should've perhaps hit the target. 89 minVilla win a corner, allowing Bacuna to kill the clock. 90 minFive minutes of added time announced. Can Stoke push and claim a point? 90+2 minVlaar blocks Ireland off with ease. Villa look like snuffing the home side out here, and Hughes looks distinctly unhappy on the sidelines. 90+3 minVilla win another corner, and when not one person makes his way into the box for it, you know that they're happy to settle for one! 90+3 minVilla win another corner, and when not one person makes his way into the box for it, you know that they're happy to settle for one! 90+4 minBrilliant block from Senderos as Stoke try once more. Villa seem destined to hold on here. 90+5 minFULL TIME: STOKE CITY 0-1 ASTON VILLA 4.54pmBrilliant start from Villa, who win on the road just as they did last season. In fairness, they were the better side today, with Stoke looking rusty and unprepared. There was something odd about the atmosphere about the Britannia today - usually a cauldron which away sides hate to visit. 4.57pmPaul Lambert will be delighted with three points here - a place which away sides traditionally struggle. Hughes will not want to get downhearted, but this fixture represented a great chance to hit the ground running and get off the mark with a win. 4.59pmThanks for joining me this afternoon, and remember that we have coverage of Arsenal vs Crystal Palace next up here on Sports Mole, as well as all the reaction and analysis from this and all of the other Premier League games today.