Match Analysis: Stoke City 0-1 Aston Villa

Sports Mole dissects this afternoon's Premier League match between Stoke City and Aston Villa, which saw the away side win 1-0.

Aston Villa's Premier League campaign got off to a flying start as they picked up three points away to Stoke City.

Andreas Weimann scored the only goal of the game, firing a shot past Asmir Begovic into the bottom corner, five minutes into the second half.

The Potters struggled to get back into the game, never really testing Brad Guzan in the visiting goal.

Here, Sports Mole takes an in-depth look at whether Villa deserved their victory.

Match statistics

Stoke City
Shots: 6
On target: 2
Possession: 63%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 14

Aston Villa
Shots: 6
On target: 2
Possession: 37%
Corners: 8
Fouls: 9

Was the result fair?

Overall, yes, Villa deserved their victory today. Looking at the stats, this was not a game littered with goal attempts, but the chances that the visitors did create were clearer and they showed more ambition. Stoke were everybody's favourites to win this game, with many expecting them to stroll past Villa in the fashion that they did last season. However, that was not the case today, with Paul Lambert's team showing more fight than their opponents.
Stoke City's performance

Mark Hughes will be extremely disappointed with what his team showed him today. Defensively, Ryan Shawcross didn't look his usual solid self, and behind him Asmir Begovic seemed strangely uncomfortable. Glenn Whelan and Steven N'Zonzi were solid enough in the middle, but Stephen Ireland was anonymous in front of them. Mame Biram Diouf really struggled up front, rarely linking up with his teammates. When he did make the ball stick under his control, he then took poor touches as he looked for a pass. Bojan and Marko Arnautovic looked the most likely to make something happen for Stoke, but even they flattered to deceive at times. It wasn't the greatest debut for the ex-Barcelona man, while Arnautovic shot too often when passing seemed a better option.

Aston Villa's performance

Meanwhile, Lambert will be delighted with Villa's flying start. They won away at Arsenal last term, and they have repeated the trick this time around at another ground known to be a difficult place to pick up away points. Despite their summer acquisitions looking unambitious on paper, the three debutants today all impressed. Philippe Senderos looked solid alongside Ron Vlaar, while Aly Cissokho provided a genuine threat down the left side. Kieran Richardson played on the right flank, and created the best chance of the first half when he found Gabby Agbonlahor in the middle. Weimann finding the net is also a positive, with Lambert knowing that someone is going to have to step up to score the goals while Christian Benteke remains sidelined.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Ron Vlaar: The Villa captain led by example this afternoon, showing why he's been linked with the likes of Manchester United. He made one tremendous block towards the end, displaying his clear fight for the cause. He was completely solid alongside Senderos, and he dealt with the threat of Diouf with ease.

Biggest gaffe

There were few mistakes from either side this afternoon, so Begovic's decision to fly out of his goal in the first half was probably the worst we saw. Uncharacteristically, the keeper shot off his line to confront Richardson when Erik Pieters appeared to have the situation under control. Instead, Richardson rounded them both, and only Agbonlahor's poor connection stopped Villa from opening the scoring.

Referee performance

Anthony Taylor was strong, getting each of the decisions that he had to make correct. He rightly booked Ashley Westwood for a poor foul during the first half, and he also called correctly when Phil Bardsley looked for a penalty as Stoke attempted to get back into the game.

What next?

Stoke City: The fixture list has been relatively kind to Stoke, although they will need to play much better if they are to pick up anything from their trip to Hull City next weekend.

Aston Villa: Lambert's side host Newcastle United and Hull City before trips to Liverpool and Chelsea in September. Today's win will give them the confidence they need to keep collecting points.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert and assistant Roy Keane look on during the pre-season friendly match between Mansfield and Aston Villa at the One Call Stadium on July 17, 2014
Read Next:
Preview: Stoke vs. Villa
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