The Potters take on Aston Villa in this crucial relegation six pointer.
Should Aston Villa win this game, then Stoke could consider themselves involved in a relegation dogfight as they would sit only a point ahead of Paul Lambert’s side. Lindsay Parsons, Stoke’s chief scout, has apparently admitted his dislike of the direct style of Tony Pulis’s team, which led to an impressive reaction from the manager, who said he likes “strong characters” around him. Pulis must hope his players are strong against a Villa side who have scored more goals on their travels than they have managed at home, 17 compared with 15. (Guardian)
Venue Britannia Stadium, Saturday 3pm
Last season Stoke 0 Aston Villa 0
Referee Mark Clattenburg
This season’s matches 17 Y54, R6, 3.53 cards per game
Subs from Sorensen, Whitehead, Ness, Palacios, Wilkinson, Kightly, Etherington, Adam, Jones, Shea, Owen
Doubtful Etherington (groin)
Form guide LDLLLW
Disciplinary record Y63 R3
Leading scorer Walters 6
Subs from Given, Dawkins, Bannan, N’Zogbia, Holman, Clark, Bowery, Lichaj, Bent, El Ahmadi, Burke, Williams, Stevens, Carruthers, Ireland
Doubtful Clark (shoulder)
Injured Gardner (knee, May), Herd (foot, May), Albrighton (foot, unknown), Dunne (groin, unknown), Petrov (leukemia, unknown)
Form guide LWWLLW
Disciplinary record Y66 R2
Leading scorer Benteke 14
Six of their last eight Premier League meetings have been drawn, including the last four.
Stoke are unbeaten in their last five home matches against Villa (W2, D3) since a 3-1 top-flight defeat in August 1984.
Stoke have only earned five points in 2013, fewer than any other team in the Premier League.
Their overall tally of 34 points is their lowest ever at this stage of a Premier League season.
They have won just one of their last 12 league matches, and managed a solitary point and goal (a penalty) in their last five fixtures.
The Potters have the worst goalscoring record in the top flight, with 27 goals from 31 games. They have failed to score in 14 of those matches – which is also the worst record in the Premier League.
Peter Crouch scored six times in 37 league games for Aston Villa between 2002 and 2004.
Villa have won three of their last six league matches, having previously only managed four victories in their opening 25 games.
They have only lost one of their five away games since the 8-0 defeat by Chelsea on 23 December. However, Villa have dropped points in four of those matches by conceding late goals.
The Villans have surrendered 21 points from winning positions – the third worst record in the division.
Paul Lambert’s side have gone 15 league games without a clean sheet since a goalless draw against Stoke on 8 December.
They have conceded 58 goals this season, only one shy of their highest ever Premier League total set two years ago.
Villa have conceded more goals after half time (39) than any other club.
Gabby Agbonlahor needs just one to equal Dwight Yorke’s record of 60 for the club in the Premier League.
Christian Benteke has scored nine goals in his last 11 Premier League appearances. He is three goals away from equalling Yorke’s record Premier League tally of 17 for the club in a single season.