Liverpool fans were crowing yesterday after watching their team string together 31 passes in the lead up to Fernando Torres’s second goal against Wolves. That was in stark contrast to Darren Bent who touched the ball just 29 times on his Villa debut, including just one touch inside the opponent’s penalty area. But like any great goalscorer his one chance ended up in the back of the net.
Bent was under severe pressure to perform after joining Villa from Sunderland during the week in a record £24m deal and did not disappoint after his debut goal defeated Manchester City and lifted the Villains out of the relegation zone.
The goal was not spectacular as Bent finished from a tight angle after Joe Hart saved an Ashley Young curler but Villa did not pay for quality of goal, they paid for quantity and Bent will surely oblige.
Bent has had to deal with criticism over his loyalty, integrity and his footballing ability during an inharmonious week but it will be hard for anyone to question his credentials as a top level striker after he scored his 9th league goal of the season.
Many questioned Gerard Houllier and Randy Lerner’s motives for spending such a large sum on a player who has never been successful at a top club and struggled to break through at international level. But what Bent may lack in finesse and technique he makes up for in instinct and intelligence.
It is clear that Villa believe the man who has scored 83 league goals since the 2005/06 season will put away the chances to keep them up, as he did with Sunderland and Charlton in the past.
Speaking on Bent’s signing Villa manager Houllier said: "We are absolutely delighted to have Darren here and we know he will be a tremendous asset for the months and the years ahead.
"His arrival sends out a clear message about our ambition. We've brought him down here to spearhead our efforts and to help build something strong and lasting at our club."
There have also been questions over Bent’s ambition after he left high-flying Sunderland to move to a Villa languishing in the relegation zone but the England forward insists that the move is a step up in his career.
Speaking on the day of his signing Bent said: "I'm delighted to join Aston Villa. This is a big, big opportunity for me.
"People have asked why I swapped a top six club for one currently in the bottom four. But I believe Villa are in a false position, they have been sixth for the past three seasons."
Bent’s reasoning may yet be justified after his side showed fight and determination to claim their first win in 6 games and if the likes of Albrighton, Downing and Young continue to get balls into Bent then you can be sure that Villa Park’s new hero will score the goals to send them up the Premier League table.