It is perhaps an indicator of how poor Aston Villa’s season has been that their 4-0 loss to Manchester City was not their worst defeat of the season……. so far. The low point remains the 6-0 thrashing handed out by Newcastle at St. James’ Park in the second match of the season.
But no matter the score line both performances were quite abysmal and although Villa have to wait until April to face Newcastle again they get another crack at a Manchester City side that seems to be building momentum as the last third of the season draws near.
A visual Villa’s weekly league position mimics that of a troubled company’s stock price – decline interrupted by a brief and tepid rally followed by further decline to a new low.
This week Villa decided to take decisive action and that meant spending money that was not made available in August to Martin O’Neill – hence his resignation.
No doubt the money was not there in August because the owners did not believe there was a need to spend – now with relegation a real threat the money has been found (borrowed really).
The price of relegation far exceeds the cost (initial fee of $30.5M rising to potentially $38.4M) of bringing Darren Bent a proven Premier League goal scorer to Villa Park.
Since August 2005 when he signed for Charlton, Darren Bent has scored 81 Premier League goals while Didier Drogba has 83 and Wayne Rooney 82.
The games started and substitute appearances are also relatively close; Bent 160 starts and 31 as a substitute; Drogba 157 starts and 35 as a sub; Rooney 159 starts and 13 as a sub. Not bad company to keep.
Gaining rapidly on that elite group of goal scorers is City’s Carlos Tevez. The contribution of Tevez to the City cause has been enormous with 37 Premier League goals for City in just 52 starts.
He now has 63 Premier League goals in 120 starts and 24 substitute appearances that also encompass time with West Ham and Manchester United.
Anyone remember how easily Tevez fitted into the West Ham line up and saved them from relegation? Well the second piece is pretty much true in that he did have a significant impact and was inspirational – but not the first. In his final ten games for West Ham Tevez scored seven goals although only four could be considered game changers.
Before he scored his first Premier League goal in a 4-3 loss to Spurs Tevez failed to score in 16 games. What’s more he was relegated to the West Ham bench (and remember this was a team in deep relegation trouble) on four occasions and did not even set foot on the park.
Running on empty – Aston Villa’s defensive record is one of the worst in the Premier League having conceded 39 goals; only West Brom and West Ham have allowed more, 41. A third (13) of the goals allowed by Aston Villa have come in the final 15 minutes of play and no other Premier League side have conceded so many.
What difference does a year make? – Manchester City are only 4 points better off than after 23 games last season while Aston Villa are 15 points worse off after 22 games.
Falling foul – Manchester City have the worst disciplinary record of any Premier league side with 47 yellow cards and 5 reds so far.
It has been interesting to see how many journalists and bloggers have been happy to compare apples to oranges when commenting on the Darren Bent transfer.
As far as I can make out (using a consistent exchange rate of £1 = $1.60US) the transfer fees involving Bent over the last few years have been as follows:
Tottenham paid Charlton $26.4M
Sunderland paid Tottenham $16M rising to a possible $26M
So if comparisons are to be made then they should be made the base fees for both or the fees with add ons for both. To write that Sunderland bought Bent for $16M and sold him for $38M is over egging the cake.
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