Can Darren Bent fire Aston Villa into Europe?
Our resident Aston Villa correspondent – Editor of AstonVillaBlog – is optimistic following Villa’s unexpected home win over Manchester City yesterday…
Aston Villa earned their first real, unexpected win of the season over Manchester City on Saturday, just their sixth league victory of the season having beaten the likes of West Ham, West Brom, Wolves, Blackpook and Everton in the current campaign. A gutsy defensive performance was rewarded with a rare clean sheet for Villa’s leaky back line and was capped by a debut winner for record signing Darren Bent. After very much hanging on for much of the second half, the team showed real spirit to close out the win against the league’s second placed side at the time. So is this a turning point? One would hope so after a dismal season thus far, Bent showed what he does best with a real poachers effort and the strikers movement up front is something the club have been lacking for over a decade. Can Villa push on with a win at Wigan to get back up to mid table security and even beyond or will Houllier’s side crumble once again? Before the game there was a real buzz after some decent transfer window movement and I was touting a cheeky bid for the 7th European spot but maybe I’m a dreamer!
Man City were first to really scare the opposition defence when an in-swinging Kolarov corner evaded the entire Villa defence but also City’s strike duo of Edin Dzeko and Carlos Tevez, who failed to convert at the back post.
Villa made the most of the early let off and Darren Bent took just 18 minutes, fittingly the figure of his initial fee, to prove why Houllier and Lerner showed so much faith in the frontman with a neat finish on his debut. The goal came after Agbonlahor had found Young who clipped a neat curling effort towards the far post. Joe Hart will be disappointed not to push the precise effort clear but Bent stole a march on his marker and was on hand to sweep home, under the sprawling City stopper.
Villa’s veteran keeper than showed his young England counterpart how it’s done after Vincent Kompany had powered a header at goal from another Kolarov corner, Friedel was equal to it and pulled off the save of the match in tipping over.
Ciaran Clark was booked, yet again, for a foul on Dzeko but looks increasingly assured in Premier League football, wherever he plays.
A glancing header from former Villa captain Gareth Barry almost levelled the game late in the first half but Villa fans were mightily relieved to see the effort bounce inches wide.
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