The former Villa striker commanded centre stage after Christian Benteke had slammed Fabian Delph's cutback into the net to give Paul Lambert's side the lead on five minutes.
Crouch's cushioned header allowed Peter Odemwingie to race through on goal to slide home the equaliser on 22 minutes before knocking an Erik Pieters pass into the net to give his side a 2-1 lead four minutes later.
Geoff Cameron finished off the rout before a deserted Villa Park when he tucked away his side's fourth goal a minute from the end of normal time after some more intelligent play by Arnautovic in playing provider.
Stoke leapfrog Villa into 10th spot in the standings. They are three points clear of Villa with seven matches remaining of the season.
5' - BENTEKE FINDS THE OPENING GOAL: Delph with the cutback. Brilliant stuff to find Benteke, and he drills the finish high into the net. Super stuff from Villa, and the big Belgian forward.
22' - ODEMWINGIE EQUALISER: Odemwingie races onto the Crouch header on. Nice control and he slams the shot into the net under Guzan. Sloppy Villa. It is 1-1.
26' - CROUCH FINISH: Crouch side foots the ball into the net from the Pieters cutback. And that is a 2-1 lead for Stoke. This match has been turned on its head.
31' - VILLA SUFFER DOUBLE INJURY MISERY: Yacouba Sylla takes over from Andy Weimann, who also seems to be injured. The injured El Ahmadi replaced by Marc Albrighton.
42' - N'ZONZI QUALITY: Arnautovic with a lovely ball into the path of N'Zonzi, who slams a show low and hard into the corner of the net. A 3-1 lead for Stoke.
89' - CAMERON COMPLETES VILLA MISERY: Cameron with the fourth goal of the day. Marko Arnautovic with the cutback and that is a fine finish. A 4-1 win on the cards here.
The last time Stoke did the double over Villa in a single season, England won the World Cup in the summer following (1965/66). Stoke also extend their unbeaten PL run to four matches.
Stoke win an away match for the first time in 13 in the PL, since 31 August and for just the second time this season. In doing so they equal their biggest ever away in the PL (3-0 vs. West Brom on 20 Nov 2010).
Geoff Cameron scores just his second ever PL goal, in his 65th PL match, all for Stoke. His only other goal came in the away loss at Arsenal earlier this season.
Villa have conceded 25 goals in their first 16 home matches this season – the most they have ever done so in the PL at this stage and the most since 1965/66 in top flight (27).
MAN OF THE MATCH
Peter Crouch (Stoke City): Looks to have struck up a decent partnership with Odemwingie for Mark Hughes' side. Stoke were excellent here. But particularly the former England forward.
TALKING POINT: Should Crouch be considered for a place in England's World Cup squad? On this performance, yes. He is in exceptional form, and would be a wildcard Roy Hodgson could trust. He also knows his way around the international scene. If Rickie Lambert is deemed a viable option, Crouch should certainly be considered. He is excellent on the ground. And fits snugly into Stoke's new ethos of passing football.
Aston Villa: Guzan 6; Bacuna 5, Vlaar 5, Baker 5, Bertrand 5; Westwood 5 Delph El Ahmadi 4; Weimann 5, Benteke 6, Agbonlahor 5...subs: Sylla 5, Holt 6, Albrighton 6
Stoke City: Begovic 6; Pieters 7 , Shawcross 8, Wilson 8, Cameron 7; Arnautovic 8, Palacios 6, Whelan 6, N'Zonzi 7; Odemwingie 8, Crouch 8...subs: Muniesa 6
THE MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Aston Villa
- Peter Crouch
- Stoke City
- Marko Arnautovic
- Peter Odemwingie
- Geoff Cameron