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What Darren Bent Will Bring To Villa

Posted Jan 24, 2011 by Shaun Edwards

Bentz Meanz Goalz

Whatever else the controversy regarding Darren Bent’s record transfer to Aston Villa brings, the result against Manchester City clearly emphasised in 90 minutes exactly why Gerard Houllier was prepared to stump up the cash to bring Bent in from Sunderland.

The truth was that for much of the match at Villa Park, Bent was largely anonymous, BBC reports indicating that he touched the ball only 27 times in the match, and up until the 18th minute he had been largely invisible.  Then, Joe Hart failed to conclusively remove an Ashley Young shot from the danger area, and Bent poached the rebound and won the game for Villa.

Is Bent a world class curator of style?  No.  Is he going to leave fans spellbound in the same way as men such as Rafael Van De Vaart at Spurs? Not a chance.  Darren Bent is on the football pitch because he is an absolute natural at putting the ball in the net.  Nothing more, nothing less.  In the end, Football is about goals, and the fact that only Drogba and Rooney have scored more domestic goals in the last five years tells you everything that you need to know about Bent’s game.

It also gave as strong an indication as has been received for weeks that Gerard Houllier’s appointment will indeed be a long term one.  Darren bent represents the true beginning of Houllier’s reign, and a win was a suitable reward.  The truth is that Villa’s lack of a goal-scorer has had a far bigger impact than many critics would care to admit.  Having seen them a couple of times this season, Villa have clearly had the ability to create chances: a midfield containing Young, Downing and Albrighton would struggle not to.  With someone now on the end of those chances, I will not be surprised to see a lot of last year’s 0-0s and 0-1 losses turn into draws and victories for a Villa side that simply needed time to adjust following Martin O Neill’s surprising resignation.

Whether Houllier and Bent will be able to rally a top half finish is uncertain (although the fact that this season has been so uncertain will work in their favour), but I wouldn’t bet against it. Villa seemed to have weathered the storm.

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