Using Darren Bent

This is really interesting.

Jol points out that while Bent’s a good player, the team seems to be doing better with him coming on as a sub:



Isn’t that something?

Bent’s come on as a sub three times and scored all three times. When he’s started we’ve done less well.

This reminds me of one of the great unspoken findings in Colin Baker’s work.



Given how many goals are scored late in games, given how most forwards are more prolific coming off the bench, Jol’s actually making a lot of sense here.  Just because the established approach is for the first XI to have the prestige, you probably are better off bringing Bent on after an hour.   It just makes so much sense.

8 thoughts on “Using Darren Bent

  1. Certainly recall Southampton under Nigel Adkins doing something similar at last season open in Manchester. He started Rickie Lambert on the bench, and I think he scored a goal like 5 mins after coming on.

  2. I part with you on this one. To conclude that Bent shouldn’t start because the team hasn’t done well in his 3 league starts, one being a tough fixture away to Chelsea, is rash. It’s a small sample size. If anything, it seems to me, consistently doing well off the bench ought to be enough to earn a place in the starting XI and it usually is, provided there’s an obvious player to swap off. Berba hasn’t scored or assisted in over 500 minutes of league play this season. Something isn’t working. Maybe it’s not just Berba–and I don’t think it is–but it seems easier to take him off than the other 9. I’d even be willing to see more of Bent & Berba together to see if they can click. Our current situation combined with only using Bent off the bench strikes me as stubborn at this point.

  3. No, I understand the sample size issue but there’s a reason that players like Bent are not starting games anymore. Villa benched him, Chicarito at United doesn’t get to start often, the breed is generally dying. but they can be useful off the bench. It seems so obvious to me having read all of the above.

  4. Chicharito also plays on team with RVP, Rooney and Welbeck. Even Berba found it hard to break in there. I don’t know why Bent was marginalized at Villa but I’ve heard –and again, no clue if there’s anything to it–it wasn’t just for footballing reasons. But, being marginalized at one club doesn’t therefore mean that should follow wherever you go. Certainly wasn’t the case with Berba.

  5. It’s a bit reminiscent of Erik Nevland. Building on what Colin wrote, perhaps it might be worthwhile to give Rodallega some starts, let defenses wear themselves out dealing with his pace and strength for 65 or 70 minutes, then swap him out for Bent.

  6. But, but, but …. Jol keeps talking about the Berba / Bent partnership. How is that to develop if they never play together, or only play together for 15 mins a game. The current approach is not working. Relying on a super sub to save you every match is hugely risky.

    1. It’s not really a question of saving, just optimising your resources. In 20-20 cricket it’s common to save some bowlers for the end. I’m not sure how this is that different.

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