Stoke City haven't had much luck on their travels this season. At kickoff, their away record was won one, drawn four and lost 10, with a goal difference of -18. But none of that mattered in their match against Aston Villa, which saw the Potters absorb an early blow before utterly demolishing their hosts, ultimately securing an impressive 4-1 victory.
Villa began brightly and went ahead in the first five minutes. The goal came about thanks to the combination of Fabian Delph's drive and Christian Benteke's raw power, the former squeezing past Stoke right back Geoff Cameron to get to the byline. His cutback was controlled by Benteke before the big Belgian whalloped a shot past Asmir Begovic and in to make it 1-0 Villa.
The Potters' response wasn't immediate, but it was emphatic. Peter Odemwingie got the visitors on the scoresheet in the 22nd minute, shrugging off a challenge from Ryan Bertrand to slide a shot between Brad Guzan's legs following a good flick from Peter Crouch. And they weren't done there, with Crouch turning scorer just moments later.
Stoke left back Erik Pieters turned poor Andi Weimann inside out on the Villa right before skipping into the area and crossing for Crouch, who made the most of Nathan Baker's astonishingly inept marking to fire the visitors into the lead. And the hosts' misery was compounded just before halftime, when errors from Leandro Bacuna and Baker combined to set up Steven Nzonzi with a chance from the edge of the box. He didn't miss.
Villa started brightly in the second and could easily have halved the deficit within the first ten minutes of play. Benteke failed to pull the trigger after a strong run from Delph, then was denied a (very soft) penalty shout by referee Mark Clattenburg after going down in the vicinity of Cameron.
But just like in the first half, the hosts faded quickly. Villa had decent possession but failed to put serious pressure on Begovic's goal for the bulk of the second half, even after throwing on a second striker in desperation. The Potters finally put their opponents (and their supporters) out of their misery in the 90th minute, when Cameron clipped home a cutback from Marko Arnautovic.
And so, after the high of beating Chelsea at this ground last weekend, Aston Villa have suffered the indignity of allowed Stoke their first away win since August. Football, eh?
Aston Villa starting lineup (4-3-3): Brad Guzan; Ryan Bertrand, Nathan Baker, Ron Vlaar, Leandro Bacuna; Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood (Grant Holt 73'), Karim El Ahmadi ; Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke, Andreas Weimann (Marc Albrighton 33').
Goals: Benteke 5'
Stoke City starting lineup (4-1-4-1): Asmir Begovic; Erik Pieters (Marc Muniesa 78'), Marc Wilson, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron; Glenn Whelan; Marko Arnautovic, Wilson Palacios, Steven Nzonzi, Peter Odemwingie; Peter Crouch.
Goals: Odemwingie 22', Crouch 26', Nzonzi 41', Cameron 90'.