Game #5094

Season | 2009-10 |

Matchday | #23 |
League Game | #18 |
Premier League Match-week | #18 |  
Manager Game | #161 |
Saturday, 19 December 2009
Premier League | Home | Stoke City | Villa Park | 35,852 | 

Game Summary

Manager | Martin O’Neill |

KO | 15.00 |
Referee | Lee Probert | 
HT Score | 0-0 |

FT Score | 1-0 |
FT Result | Won |

Last 5 Games | WWWWW | 

Scorers | John Carew | 61’ |

Assists | Ashley Young | 61’ |

League Position | 4th | - |

Line Up |

GK Brad Friedel |
LB Stephen Warnock |
CB Carlos Cuéllar |
CB Richard Dunne |
RB Luke Young |
M Stiliyan Petrov |
W Ashley Young |
ASSIST | 61' |
W James Milner |
W Stewart Downing |
SUB OFF | 81' |
F Gabby Agbonlahor |
CF Emile Heskey |
SUB OFF | 23' |

Substitutes |

CF John Carew GOAL | 61' | for CF Emile Heskey | 23’ | 
M Steve Sidwell for W Stewart Downing | 81’ |

Unused Substitutes |

RB Habib Beye
M Fabian Delph
GK Brad Guzan
M Nigel Reo-Coker
CB James Collins

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 28.66 | 

Oldest Player | GK Brad Friedel | 38.62 |

Youngest Player | F Gabby Agbonlahor | 23.20 |

Unavailable |

Injury |

CB Curtis Davies | 

Match Stats |

Possession F | 57
Possession A | 43
Shots F | 17
Shots A | 13
Shots on Target F | 8
Shots on Target A | 5
Corners F | 3
Corners A | 4
Fouls F | 9
Fouls A | 12

Match Report


BBC Sport

Saturday, 19 December 2009

*Aston Villa underlined their Champions League credentials as Stoke City were undone by a second-half header from substitute John Carew.*

Villa broke the deadlock on the hour when Ashley Young crossed for Carew to nod home the winner from six yards.

Stoke defended doggedly throughout, but offered little by way of goal threat beyond a disallowed first-half effort from Mamady Sidibe.

Steve Sidwell might have added a late second for Villa, but twice fired wide.

It was a fourth successive Premier League win for Martin O’Neill’s men, who are unbeaten in seven games since early November and now sit fourth in the table, having briefly overtaken third-placed Arsenal before the Gunners’ 3-0 win over Hull.

But while Villa’s statistics are impressive, their lack of fluency in the face of some impressively stubborn Stoke defending was at times less so, and it would have been an injustice to the visitors’ resilience had Sidwell done better with two late efforts from just outside the box.

That said, it was a game of numerous blocks and late saving tackles from both defences, and O’Neill will be justifiably delighted by a fourth consecutive clean sheet.

O’Neill’s Stoke counterpart, Tony Pulis, had spoken of a nose-to-the-grindstone approach in training this week, but while his players were typically long on endeavour, they were also characteristically short on menace.

Stoke have scored fewer away goals this season than any other Premier League side, and offered little attacking threat beyond a few long-range pot shots from Glenn Whelan and Sidibe’s disallowed header, which was ruled out for a push on Stephen Warnock.

In a week when the death of former goalkeeper Dennis Herod evoked a strong sense of nostalgia around the Potteries, how Stoke could have done with a proven poacher like Harry Burrows.

Burrows, who had signed from Villa only a few months earlier, netted the only goal of the game when Stoke last won at Villa Park back in November 1965.

The following season he scored a hat-trick for Stoke against his former club in a 6-1 home win that hastened Villa’s slide towards eventual relegation.

The modern-day outlook could hardly be more different, for while no Stoke player has scored more than two league goals this season, Villa’s sights are set firmly on the top four.

For an hour, however, you would hardly have guessed as much, Stoke staging a defensive master-class to stifle Villa’s usual flair.

After a slow start during which Stoke enjoyed plenty of possession but did little with it, Villa did threaten briefly to go through the gears.

Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen was forced into a rapid-fire double save, parrying a stinging Stiliyan Petrov effort before stretching out a foot to block Gabriel Agbonlahor’s follow-up.

But Villa’s momentum was arrested following the withdrawal of Emile Heskey, who was injured in a challenge with Danny Higginbotham.

Heskey was replaced by Carew, but Villa remained strangely becalmed.

With Tuncay increasingly influential for Stoke after the break, the pressure was on Villa to up the attacking ante.

Cometh the hour, they obliged, unlocking Stoke’s previously impregnable defence with a goal of admirable simplicity as Ashley

Young crossed from the right for Carew to plant a firm close-range header past Sorensen.

Having dropped points in the corresponding fixture last March, when they squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 - and subsequently managed just two more wins all season - it was vital to Villa’s Champions League aspirations that they held on.

And despite continued Stoke pressure they did so, maintaining the feel-good factor around Villa Park ahead of their visit to Arsenal next Sunday, which comes two days before they entertain Liverpool at home.

*Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neill:*

“It was a really tough game and we knew it would be, so we had the mindset for it.

“Stoke are very strong and very good, and considering the games that we’ve had recently I thought it was our best win.

“I think it’s even more difficult to break into the top four this year, but it’s great that we are going into games against Arsenal and Liverpool with great confidence.”

*Tony Pulis on Mamady Sidibe’s disallowed goal:*

“It was an injustice, but we’ll have to take it on the chin.

“We’ve had a few decisions go against this year, but we’re pleased with the performance.

“If there was a fault, it was that we didn’t make [Brad] Friedel work.

“We’ve got to start hitting the back of the net, and we’ve got to hope that one of our strikers hits a rich vein of form.”