BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson predicts Aston Villa v Stoke, gives verdict on Sherwood's signings

Tim Sherwood Press Conference 12/02/2014

Mark Lawrenson believes Stoke City will beat Aston Villa 2-1 this afternoon.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he believes Stoke City will grab their second win in a row, with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

Visitors Stoke won their first Premier League game of the season last weekend, edging Bournemouth out 2-1 in a narrow win at the Britannia Stadium.

This weekend, Hughes takes his side on the road in search of another three points after a slow start to the season - and it's fair to say that their opponents Villa have struggled too.

After a summer of rebuilding under Tim Sherwood, Villa have won just once - also against Bournemouth - and the pressure is already counting on the Villa boss after last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Liverpool.

Sherwood needs better this time around, but BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson doesn't believe they will have much better luck at Villa Park this weekend.

Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Stoke will win the game 2-1, citing that the lack of impact from Sherwood's summer signings is a big reason for their struggles so far this term.

"Stoke got their first win of the season against Bournemouth last week,and I don't think there was ever any doubt that the Potters were going to improve," said Lawrenson. "I see that improvement continuing at Villa Park because Mark Hughes has got quality in his squad, and he has also got some scrappers."

"The worry for Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood is that he does not have enough of either. Aside from Rudy Gestede, none of their summer signings have caught the eye yet and there is no way you can tell me they look a better team than last year. The reality of the situation is that they are in a relegation fight. Sherwood has admitted it, but some of their new players will be thinking I didn't sign up for this'," he added.

Whilst Lawrenson was right to single out Gestede, other players such as Jordan Amavi and Idrissa Gueye have shown flashes of quality, whilst Adama Traore is on his way back for injury, meaning those Sherwood signings should still have a huge part to play despite a slow start - something many predicted given their adjustment to Premier League football.

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