The new season began with plenty of new signings for both sides. Although new loan signing Victor Moses was confirmed too late to start for Stoke, they were able to call upon Bojan Krkic and Phil Bardsley. Aston Villa had Philippe Senderos, Aly Cissokho and Kieran Richardson, joined by long-term absentees Alan Hutton and Charles N’Zogbia.
Both sides struggled for rhythm in the first half, with most focus being placed on a series of increasingly rough tackles, with Keiren Westwood and Steven N’Zonzi both lucky to stay on the pitch for rough tackles.
In the second half, Villa needed just five minutes to take the lead with Andreas Weimann. On the hour, Stoke were denied a penalty despite Weimann stumbling into Bardsley inside the box. Despite a late flurry of pressure, Stoke were unable to equalise and Villa enjoyed a surprisingly bright start to the season.
13’ - BOJAN SHOT - New signing Bojan cuts in from the left wing and drills a shot low and wide of the near post.
25’ - AGBONLAHOR MISS - Richardson does well to rob Begovic just inside the box as the keeper fails to hold onto a pass, and plays the ball back for Agbonlahor. He scuffs his shot wide under the challenge of a defender, but should have scored.
45’ - GUZAN SAVE - Bardsley steps onto his left from the right wing, and from the edge of the box slices a swirling shot towards goal that Guzan pushes away, and luckily for Villa nobody is close enough to follow up.
50’ - WEIMANN SCORES - After N’Zogbia is tackled on the edge of the box, the ball runs to Weimann. He is instantly tackled, but runs onto the follow-up, and slams a diagonal shot towards goal that Begovic gets a hand to, but he can’t prevent it squeezing into the far corner.
60’ - PENALTY APPEAL - Weimann runs straight into Bardsley in the box, who is chasing a ball over the top, but the referee gives nothing, probably incorrectly.
This is Stoke’s first opening day defeat at the Britannia Stadium
This was Paul Lambert’s second victory on the opening day of the Premier League.
Stoke have never recorded a positive goal difference in the Premier League and are already a goal down.
Villa conceded four goals in four of their last 10 Premier League games.
The Premier League is the richest league in the world, yet serves up this. For all the money from gate receipts and television rights, the dour, unimaginative and depressing football on offer highlights the lack of ambition and cowardice in the approach most sides take to the league. Football is supposedly a source of entertainment, yet both Villa and Stoke seem happy to ignore that requirement.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa): Continuing his impressive form from the World Cup, the Dutch defender was key for Villa, well positioned to stop several Stoke City shots, and to reassure the new-look Villa defence under occasional pressure from Stoke as they chased an equaliser.
Stoke City: Begovic 6, Bardsley 7, Shawcross 6, Wilson 6, Pieters 6, Whelan 5, Nzonzi 6, Bojan 6, Ireland 5, Arnautovic 6, Diouf 6. Subs: Adam 5, Crouch 6.
Aston Villa: Guzan 6, Hutton 6, Vlaar 7, Senderos 6, Cissokho 7, Westwood 6, Delph 6, Richardson 5, N’Zogbia 5, Weimann 6, Agbonlahor 6. Subs: Bacuna 6, Grealish 6.
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Aston Villa
- Andreas Weimann
- Phil Bardsley
- Stoke City
- Bojan Krkic
- Kieran Richardson