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Aston Villa need Bent January sale to stave relegation concerns

| 09.10.2012

Aston Villa have made their worst start to a league season in living memory and 3/1 may look a big price to some punters that they are relegated at the end of the campaign.

Even under the much-hated Alex McLeish last season, Villa took 11 points from their opening seven fixtures, with replacement Paul Lambert managing just five as he looks to assemble his own squad to play in his style.

Lambert has already made some big calls, with Villa fans largely happy with the contribution of Brad Guzan in goal so far after replacing Shay Given.

However, the decision to drop Darren Bent from the starting line up for the past three games has done a greater job of dividing opinion.

Bent is certainly the club’s leading goal threat and potentially their last valuable asset after the regular departures of the likes of Gareth Barry, James Milner, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young in recent seasons.

The problem with Bent is that he does not naturally fit in with the type of football Lambert is trying to bring to Villa Park and does not have the creative players around him to feed him with the ammunition to score goals.

Villa look especially light in midfield creativity and this has been most obvious in recent games since Stephen Ireland has been injured.

Bent offers little with Villa not in possession and only really comes to life when the ball is around the opposing penalty box.

With Villa’s current squad, picking Bent could virtually mean that Lambert is voluntarily starting a game with ten men.

Instead, Lambert is opting for Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor in attack at present, with the former having the size and speed to hold the ball up and be a nuisance and the latter having the outright pace to be a major threat on the counter attack.

This pairing are also more likely to make a chance for themselves or relieve some pressure if Villa have a sustained period on the back foot.

Unfortunately, scoring goals seemingly does not come as easy to either as it does to Bent and this is a problem that Lambert must find a solution to.

Selling Bent in January may not be a popular option, but the money generated should free up the funds to address the midfield weakness and make Villa a better all-round team to boot.

Aston Villa are 1/4 to stay up and selling Bent is what it may take to make this more of a certainty.

All odds and markets correct as of publication



Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.