Aston Villa and Stoke City extend their Premier League unbeaten runs after draw
Last Updated: December 8, 2012 10:03pm
Aston Villa were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Stoke City at Villa Park as both sides extended their Premier League unbeaten runs.
Defender Ryan Shotton was controversially sent off in stoppage-time by referee Roger East for a second bookable offence, but replays showed he made no contact on Villa substitute Fabian Delph.
Best of the Match:
- Man of the match: Ashley Westwood is showing continued signs of improvement at Villa and a masterful display in the middle of the park by the former Crewe skipper showed he can mix it with the big boys.
- Moment of the match: Shotton was given his marching orders deep in second half stoppage time, although replays showed he actually pulled out of his challenge on Delph before the player fell over.
- Tackle of the match: Clark went in with his studs showing on Whelan and the Stoke players vented their anger at the defender. Luckily for Villa, the ref had pulled up play moments earlier.
- Talking point: Villa are getting better under Lambert, but can they survive a testing Christmas period? Where would Stoke be without Shawcross and Huth?
- Stats of the match: There have been just eight goals scored in the last seven matches between Villa and Stoke now. The Potters have kept the most clean sheets in the Premier League this season (8).
Villa striker Darren Bent made his return to action for the first time in six weeks midway through the second period, but was unable to inspire Villa to the three points.
The Potters are now unbeaten in six after a solid defensive showing while the hosts extended their run to four without a loss and showed signs of continued improvement under manager Paul Lambert.
Six of the last eight meetings between these Midlands rivals have now ended as draws, including four of the last five played at Villa Park.
Stoke have registered eight clean sheets this season although they could easily have fallen behind when skipper Ryan Shawcross kept out Christian Benteke's close-range volley after Ciaran Clark had headed the ball back across goal.
The visitors were then incensed by a centre-circle challenge on Glenn Whelan by Clark in first-half stoppage-time, but it escaped any punishment.
Villa started the second half brightly and Asmir Begovic went down to his left to cling onto Benteke's volley after Matt Lowton had flicked on a Barry Bannan cross.
Tempers were becoming frayed, but Benteke continued to ask questions and some trickery inside the area created half a chance. However, Robert Huth reacted quickly to block his shot on the turn.
Shotton became the first player to be yellow-carded after 75 minutes after fouling substitute Stephen Ireland.
Then came his red card deep into stoppage-time, although there was no time left for Villa to cash in on their numerical advantage as City kept an eighth clean sheet this season.
|Aston Villa||Team Statistics||Stoke City|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|2||Shots on Target||0|
|4||Shots off Target||2|
|58.5||1st Half Poss.||41.5|
|53.9||2nd Half Poss.||46.1|
Barclays Premier League
|8||West Bromwich Albion||37||48|
|10||West Ham United||37||43|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||37||25|
Aston Villa v Stoke
Ciaran Clark says Aston Villa striker Darren Bent should not be written off after he returned to action against Stoke.
Paul Lambert says his Villa youngsters are more than capable of coping with the physical challenges of the top flight.
Tony Pulis had to bite his tongue about referee Roger East in Stoke's draw at Aston Villa due to fear of FA punishment.