Stoke City have climbed into the top half of the Premier League following their 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium.
Second half goals from Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch allowed Stoke to bounce back from their League Cup dismissal in mid week, and make it seven points from their last three league games.
Mark Hughes brought Marko Arnautovic, Asmir Begovic and Steven N’Zonzi back into the team after their disappointing 2-0 loss to Man United in the League cup in mid-week. Captain Ryan Shawcross was also declared fit after limping off in the same game.
Paul Lambert left Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor out of today’s squad, with the striker finding it hard to put the ball in the net this season during a 12 hour baron spell. Instead Lambert opted for Libor Kozak in the lone striker role.
And it took Villa just 60 seconds to have their first shot through Aleksander Tonev, but the attempt was high and wide of Begovic’s goal.
Stoke replied with a shot from Jon Walters when he found himself on the end of Geoff Cameron’s cross but Brad Guzan easily saved, as the sides went in goalless at the break.
Stoke brought Charlie Adam on for Marko Arnautovic at half time, and this looked like a masterstroke as the Scot broke the deadlock just five minutes later when Cameron hit a diagonal ball to Peter Crouch and he knocked the ball into the path of Adam who made no mistake with a cool finish for his fourth goal of the season.
Erik Pieters then handed Villa the equaliser after an under-weighted back headed to Begovic allowed Kozak to seize the ball and take the visitors level.
But Stoke responded quickly with Cameron putting in a cross from the right and Crouch finishing past a helpless Guzan as the home side regained the lead.
Crouch could have had a second a few seconds later when his back heel came off the wood work before Begovic denied Kozak late on to give the Potters the three points that lifts them up into the top half of the table.
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