x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Pulis wary of a wounded Villa side

Stoke manager Tony Pulis does not expect Aston Villa to make the same mistake they did last season when last-minute goals in their two encounters cost Martin O'Neill's side vital points.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis does not expect Aston Villa to make the same mistake they did last season when last-minute goals in their two encounters cost Martin O'Neill's side vital points. Mamady Sidibe's late strike gave the Potters a 3-2 win in August 2008 and then Glenn Whelan struck in injury time to earn a 2-2 draw at Villa Park in March. Those results aided Stoke's survival as much as it dented Villa's hopes of challenging for Champions League qualification but Pulis believes his side will face better opponents this time around. "I hope I am as magnanimous as Martin was after both our games last year," said the Stoke boss. "We beat them in the last minute here and scored last minute up there to draw the game. That cost them what could have been six points but his demeanour afterwards was absolutely first class - he was a gentleman through and through." O'Neill admits the next few weeks will play a key part in determining Villa's fortunes. They have league meetings at Arsenal and a home clash with Liverpool plus a Carling Cup semi-final with Blackburn in early January. "These games will give us a pointer to what the second half of the season holds," said O'Neill. Aston Villa v Stoke City, KO 7pm, Show Series Extra 1

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