Aston Villa won their first game on the road since New Year’s Day, as they out battled a slow and one paced Stoke side.
Andreas Weimann’s goal five minutes after the break was enough to seal the points.
Stoke fans turned up in anticipation and excitement whilst Villa fans were wary, but it was the Villains who went home the happier.
Stoke were the brighter side in the opening exchanges, but failed test Brad Guzan in the Villa goal. There were glimpses of new signing Bojan and Arnautovic linking, which saw the young Spaniard drag a shot wide.
The best chance of the first half fell to the visitors when Kieran Richardson nicked the ball ahead of Marc Wilson and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, but Gabby Agbonlahor fired wide of an open goal from six yards.
Just before the break Weimann headed over from a few yards when it looked easier to score; the assistant referee’s flag saved his blushes. Just a minute later saw Stoke’s best chance when Phil Bardsley cut inside and hit a shot on his left foot. Guzan could only palm the ball away; it seemed to hit Bojan before looping into the air and the goalkeeper’s hands.
The goal came after the break when Weimann collected the ball and shot powerfully from an angle inside the box; it beat a diving Begovic. The shot may have taken a slight deflection off a last ditch block tackle effort from Shawcross, but the goal seemed to happen in slow motion.
Stoke tried to respond but Villa’s defenders were throwing their bodies in front of shots from Arnautovic and Bojan, meaning it was a quiet second half for Guzan.
Diouf should have done better on the hour mark but his free header went wide as he attempted to head the ball back from where it came. Peter Crouch, later replaced Diouf and the ball seemed to stick to the big man, but Stoke still failed to create anything meaningful.
With a couple of minutes to go Villa broke quickly and men in claret and blue flooded forward. It looked likely they were going to kill the game, but when the ball broke to substitute Bacuna, but he blazed horribly over the bar.
Mark Hughes said he was disappointed with the result and performance, whilst Paul Lambert thought it was a solid and outstanding team performance.
Hughes will have work to do before the Potters travel to face Hull City next weekend. Aston Villa face Newcastle United at home, both games will be televised.
Stoke seemed to miss Peter Odemwingie to add some energy and pace into the attack, which at times looked static, but did lack service. The Nigerian wasn’t involved.
Just before kick-off Stoke announced the signing of Victor Moses on a season long loan from Chelsea.
Stoke: Begovic, Bardsley, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Whelan (Adam), N’Zonzi, Bojan, Ireland, Arnautovic, Diouf (Crouch)
Aston Villa: Guzan, Hutton, Vlaar, Senderos, Cissokho, N’Zogbia (Grealish), Delph, Westwood, Richardson, Weimann (Bacuna), Agbonlahor
Referee: Mr Anthony Taylor