Bent’s Demise

Darren Bent is Aston Villa history now, a fleeting ‘what if’ moment, instead of leaving a legacy that would be fitting of a club’s record signing.

Bent never really eclipsed the euphoria of his debut goal in the 1-0 win against Manchester City. That was the moment you thought Villa had finally signed a 20 league goals a season kind of guy. His goals in his first season kept Villa up, but then an injury in the following season under McLeish’s reign was the beginning of the end.

Since, an on-going spat between Bent and Lambert has recently rumbled into public view through the press, and we now know Bent will never kick another ball for Villa, as he sees out the reminder of his Villa contract playing for Derby.

How quickly he went from a feather in Lerner’s cap and potential Holte hero to a £65,000-a-week inconvenience.

We’ve already discussed Bent’s  Villa Park demise at length, but in a nutshell, a lot of supporters feel it went wrong for the former England international striker when his supply lines in Ashley Young and Stewart Downing were sold off and never satisfactorily replaced.

Bent was a poacher par excellence, but what good is a fox in the box, if the ball very rarely makes it into the 18-yard box?

Christian Benteke Blues

What has been noticeable in recent weeks is the frustrated figure Christian Benteke has been, when his supply lines have been cut. Toothless displays from Villa with little penetration in the final third have left the Belgian international feeding on scraps since he came back from long-term injury.



As a result, Benteke has become disillusioned and seems lacking in the desire to create and hustle the kind of chances he’d make himself, like in the majority of his first season at Villa. He has shown in recent games he doesn’t have the poacher-like instinct ala Bent to make the runs at the right time and at times he seems on a different wavelength to his team mates. But who’s fault is that?

The lack of creativity in the team or tactics is largely to blame, but Benteke’s sulking hasn’t helped.

Window Dressing

The January window it seems has very much been about feeding Benteke and providing him with the nutrients of crosses (Scott Sinclair) and clever link play around the box (Carles Gil) to get him scoring again.

I’ve always maintained that if you have Benteke in your team you have a chance against anyone. Even more so, now Villa’s defensive backline has tightened up (which has mainly been down to having two fullbacks that can actually defend). The Belgian striker has the quality to make things happen, but he needs the ball.

Hopefully both Gil and Sinclair can bring the dimension to Villa’s play that has been distinctly lacking.

The Delph Card

Another card in Villa’s deck in helping the Villa striker out is Fabian Delph. While the club have tried to build him up to legend status this week in their marketing follow him signing a new contract, in reality Villa need more from him on the pitch.

Delph’s main attribute has been driving Villa forward from their own half into the opposition’s, but once he gets past the centre circle, he seems to rarely be effective. Little in defence-splitting passes, very few assists and only three league goals to his name during his time at Villa.



Delph through injury and suspension this season has had very little game time alongside Carlos Sanchez in the Villa midfield, since the Columbian signed. With Sanchez’s growing emergence as Villa’s defensive midfield shield hopefully this will allow Delph’s drives to begin further up the field.

Simply put, a Delph playing 10-15 yards further forward could add increased dynamism to Villa’s attacking prowess.

Another Record

We’re all aware of Lambert’s growing collection of horror stats and records, and if they fail to score at the Emirates against Arsenal, it will be the first time that Villa have failed to score in six league games on the trot.

Surely, the Villa boss has the tools to now avoid anymore lacklustre forward displays. He can’t afford to allow Benteke to slip away as Bent did.


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  1. Bent’s stats suggest the only time he touches the ball is to put it in the net. Which is fine if he has a ball to touch. If not he does nothing never has. Villa pass the ball forward about 3 times a game hence whys he’s gone. Maybe a midfield without cleverley and nzog who can only pass backward not even side ward, would be a step in the right direction. Benteke had a stat of winning the most balls in the air in europe last season. If we can get balls in especially from byline he will score plenty. If we can also get people to support him and feed a bit off his knockdowns others will score. Sorry Gabby despite ability of pace and occasional shot on target you fail to anticipate what is going on around you and do not deserve your place in side just like Weiman. Benteke needs support from midfield. Maybe Sinclair, Gill and a more positive Delph could provide this but I fear the manager has other ideas

  2. His frustrations are understandable given the lack of service. However the constant throwing of his arms in the air every time a ball doesn’t go in the perfect place for him is becoming very tiresome, if not somewhat petulant. It would would probably help if he would attack between the posts more often rather constantly peeling off to the back post or waiting for cut backs.

  3. you have to remember we have changed from a counter attacking style which suited gabby and benteke

    this has thrown the attack into chaos as lambert hasnt fathomed out the tactics and players needed till now

    it seems

    and it appears most of the squad have not adapted yet

    but bacuna winegum and gil may just provide the spark needed

    benteke will be back once they work out how to play

  4. Let’s try and be fair.

    Aston Villa’s problem for the last two seasons was that they conceded too many goals. That problem they seem to have fixed with the once castigated Ciaran Clarke now looking like the player many hoped he would be.

    On the other hand, that more solid defensive display has led to a lack of attacking invention, but if we are honest, the personnel available didn’t have what it takes. That seems to be getting remedied now.

    On the Benteke front, give the man a chance. He has just returned from a major injury lay off. His touch and movement are rusty, though his ability to strike the ball remains potent. Benteke just needs more time to get back his edge, and the addition of Gil and Sinclair may well help him do that.

    Bent is a good striker – if he has a team good enough to play with ten men behind him – because he is useless at every other aspect of the game. Scoring is all he has, and he needs half a dozen chances to each one he converts. This is not what Villa need.

    Some fans like the blame game, but their isn’t a manager in the world who could make Agbonlahor into a world class striker. Lambert has had to cut his cloth, now finally he has some silk to work with.


  5. Whilst service is vital to any striker, goal droughts are rarely caused by just one thing. Bent needs a certain set up to get the best of him, this is proven wherever he has played. Spurs couldn’t accommodate him because they didn’t play with just one striker and two wide men, and when he came to Villa he was that focal point, and had the service of Downing, Young. I think also Bent has lost a yard. Benteke is capable of making something from nothing, remember him leaving defenders lying on the floor as he brushed them off, he has such great strength. Benteke’s failings are a combination of slow build up play and game rustiness, and his red card didn’t help just after he came back from injury.

    I think that the signings of Gil and Sinclair are just what we need, players who are comfortable out wide and can work the channels, this I feel will link the midfield to Benteke and get him in the game more. There is no doubt that Gabby and Weimann were not comfortable playing on the wing or in the channels, they naturally revert to type because they are strikers.

    I guess all I’m saying is that shape and link up play, and striker confidence and form go hand in hand. To add, I think that Benteke’s frustration is about lack of service and lack of touch/form in equal proportion.

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