Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughCan Darren Bent's return fire Villa to safety? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Can Darren Bent's return fire Villa to safety? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Can Darren Bent’s return fire Villa to safety?

Aston Villa are a football club with a massive history but, as has been proved in the past, no club is too big to go down.

They flirted with relegation last season during Alex McLeish’s tumultuous reign at Villa Park, eventually finishing 16th in the Premier League.  For the first time in a few years, people were beginning to see a different, less threatening Villa side than the one which secured three consecutive finished sixth-placed finishes from 2008 to 2010.

The majority of the Villa Park faithful opposed former Birmingham manager McLeish’s appointment from the very beginning, with the Scotsman’s results doing little to change their opinion of him.  He was ultimately axed a day after the final game of the season following a disappointing campaign.

The Scottish manager was replaced by compatriot Paul Lambert, who left Carrow Road after guiding Norwich City to a respectable mid-table finish.  The former Canaries boss has not hesitated to ring the changes since becoming Villa manager, dropping several players who were ever-present under McLeish and promoting some of the club’s younger players to the first team.

One of the most controversial decisions Lambert has made since joining Villa has been leaving record signing and last season’s top goal-scorer Darrent Bent on the bench.  Recently struggling with an ankle injury, it is now over a month since the former Sunderland hitman started a league game for the Villains, with his last Premier League appearance coming at the end of October.  The striker had previously been named interim captain whilst Stilian Petrov recovered from leukemia, but his absence from the starting line-up resulted in Dutch international defender Ron Vlaar leading out the team. 

Yet to play any part in Villa’s three games so far this month, can Darren Bent help the club clamber out of the relegation zone with a massive result at home to Arsenal?