Aston Villa 1 Stoke City 4: Three talking points

Aston Villa 1 Stoke City 4: Three talking points as Peter Crouch and Peter Odemwingie impress

By Mark McDougall
Aston Villa
1
Stoke City
4

The Crouch/Odemwingie partnership

Peter Crouch has made the main striker role at Stoke City his own and is now being helped out by January signing Peter Odemwingie – and both played vital roles in Stoke City’s win over Aston Villa at Villa Park. Crouch has had a good season leading the line for Stoke under Mark Hughes but the addition of Odemwingie in January from West Brom has helped the Potters become more of a force up top and push them towards a top-10 finish. Although they weren’t listed as a striker partnership in the game at Villa Park, the equaliser came from the two of them linking up when Odemwingie put the ball onto Crouch’s head who knocked it back down for Odemwingie to slot into the back of the net. Odemwingie has had a year since wanting to leave West Brom for QPR but his return to form since signing for Stoke is a bonus to Mark Hughes.

Sparky

Earlier in the season Hughes took a lot of criticism and there were even calls for him to be sacked by Stoke but the last couple of months have proved that Hughes is still capable of doing a job in the Premier League. After the disaster Hughes had at Queens Park Rangers you wouldn’t have blamed him for giving up on managing, and you wouldn’t have blamed clubs for being wary of giving the Welshman another chance in the Premier League. Thankfully for Hughes, Stoke did give him that chance and replacing Tony Pulis was not going to be an easy job, particularly when Hughes wanted to make the club play a more attractive style of football to that that Pulis had his side playing. It took some time to work but the style of football played today and in recent weeks shows that Hughes is finally getting what he wanted and a top 10 finish would be a massive success for Stoke.

Delph for England?

Over recent months there have been small calls for England to take Fabien Delph to Brazil for the World Cup this summer and those calls became a bit stronger since his winner against Chelsea last weekend, but is he good enough to earn a seat on the plane to Brazil? The 24-year-old midfielder is finally starting to show the form that got Aston Villa to pay a sizeable fee for him to get him from Leeds but it may be a bit far for him to get into Roy Hodgson’s squad for the World Cup with so many players in his position. He showed some good touches and set up Christian Benteke for the opener fantastically but with Steven Gerrard, Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard, Adam Lallana, Jack Wilshere, James Milner and Jordan Henderson, Tom Cleverley and Ross Barkley all ahead of him it is unlikely that the Villa midfielder will be in Brazil playing football this summer.

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