Aston Villa missed the chance to reduce their deficit in the race for the final Champions League place after being held to a goalless draw at Stoke.
The Britannia Stadium has become a tough venue for most visiting sides but for a team with aspirations of mixing it with Europe's elite next season Villa did not test goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen nearly enough.
The closest they came to making a breakthrough was three minutes after half-time when Stewart Downing's shot inadvertently deflected off team-mate John Carew but hit the side-netting with Sorensen wrong-footed.
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