Date: 22nd May 2012 at 3:24pm
Written by:

When the next manager is pulled out of the hat, one of the first things he should do is sign a new striker.

This isn`t a protest against Darren Bent, more like a plea in aid of him.

Looking at our current strike ‘force`, it`s no wonder we struggled for goals so much last season. People turned on Bent for his inability to score from outside of the box, but when he was brought in to score inside the box why should he have to change? Despite being injured for half the season, he still managed to score some precious goals that kept us in the Premier League.

£24m well spent so far. Shouldn`t we see how many we score if he has a decent strike partner?

No disrespect is intended at all with these statements, but Gabriel Agbonlahor has been a Premier League player now since 2006. His best season was in 2009-10 when he scored 13 PL goals (John Carew scored 10). He scored 6 goals this season and 5 last season. Granted, he has sustained injuries again this year, but this is not good enough.

Nathan Delfouneso has played 43 games for the club since 2008 and scored 9 goals. Not good enough.

Andreas Weimann has scored 2 goals in 10 appearances. Jury`s still out, but still not satisfactory for a top-level striker.

The worrying fact is that we haven`t had a 20+ goals a season scorer in the Premier league….ever. Bent is a box player, a poacher. He has proven that he can score goals if you let him do what he does best, even in a struggling team, but now he needs a proven partner. We have some fantastic prospects in our academy and reserves but as far as strikers go we have always been found wanting. Darius Vassell, Stefan Moore, Luke Moore, Agbonlahor, Delfouneso. All touted to be brilliant and get goals but didn`t and haven`t, and while it may still be too early to judge Weimann and the Fonz, there seems to be something missing.

There have been so many successful partnerships in the Premier League over the years; Shearer and Sutton. Shearer and Ferdinand. Sheringham and Armstrong. Fowler and Collymore. Phillips and Stewart. Sheringham and Solskjaer. Yorke and Cole. Wright and Bergkamp. Henry and Bergkamp. Rooney and van Nistelrooy. Who have Villa had? Saunders and Atkinson. One decent pairing. Angel and Vassell also clicked for one season. Other than that, we have only had one man in the team who consistently (or inconsistently) scores goals. Dwight Yorke. Dion Dublin. Juan Pablo Angel. Milan Baros. Now we have Darren Bent. While £24m is enough to justify bearing the goalscoring burden alone, it only works if he gets the service from the players around him on a regular basis. This is too much of a risk to take, especially if he gets injured again.

In summary, if we are to be pushing consistently, we need proven goalscorers. If Bent is to stay up front on his own, we need midfielders to swarm the box and shoot on sight. If not, we need another striker but in the mould of Fowler, Shearer, Henry. A man who will take chances but also create a goal from nothing. We would hope that our younger strikers will be able to step up when the time comes, but history has proven otherwise. Bent has been dancing the tango on the Villa dancefloor since he arrived. Hopefully the new manager will see this and realise that it takes two.