Preview: Aston Villa vs. Stoke City – prediction, team news, lineups Watch Live
By Darren Plant, Senior Reporter | 2d Aston Villa play host to Stoke City in the EFL Cup fourth round looking to extend their winning run in all competitions to five matches.
Start date: 02 Oct 2020 00:00
Location: Birmingham Venue: Villa Park
Referee: Robert Jones, England
Meanwhile, Stoke make the short trip to Birmingham on the back of successive 1-0 victories over Gillingham and Preston North End respectively.Having been afforded a longer break than many other teams in the Premier League, Villa look to be reaping the benefits as they continue to perform to a high level.
Dean Smith’s side are yet to face the kind of assignments which will determine whether they are ready to move to the next level, with their victory over Sheffield United coming after their opponents received an early red card.Nevertheless, overcoming Burton Albion, the Blades, Bristol City and Fulham in quick succession has naturally raised expectation levels in the West Midlands.
Each of their big-money additions already look settled in the squad, particularly Emiliano Martinez who has kept back-to-back clean sheets since his arrival from Arsenal.
Although it remains early days, Smith will be eager to see whether his second-string can maintain the club’s momentum against a Stoke outfit who possess one of the best defensive records in the country.
The Potters have kept five clean sheets in six matches this season, the only goals that they have conceded coming in the seconds before half time and full time against Bristol City.
Michael O’Neill will be demanding much more from his side in the final third at a time when just three strikes have been netted during the same period.
However, Stoke showed against Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this month that they are capable of wearing down higher-quality opponents before taking advantage during the closing stages.
Aston Villa are looking to continue their fine start to 2020/21 by beating Stoke City to book their place in the last eight of the EFL Cup.
Dean Smith’s team have been something of a force in the new season so far, winning all four of their games and scoring 10 goals in the process.
Perhaps most pleasingly for the manager, the team have conceded just the one goal against Burton Albion.
Both clubs will take that result into account when preparing for this contest, more so Stoke who will be motivated to extend their unbeaten run against Villa to six matches.