On Darren Bent

By Rich

Following a quick exchange on Twitter (“Bent should be starting”, “No he shouldn’t”) I thought I would check again for evidence.  Here is that evidence.

Darren Bent has been involved with 38 league games in the last two seasons, playing for both Fulham and Aston Villa.

He played all 90 minutes in 12 games

He started 6 games and was taken off in the second half (so in 1/3 of his starts).

He has appeared as a sub in 20 of those games.

In these 38 games he has scored 6 times.

Two of those goals came in the games when he started.

So in 1521 minutes as a starter he’s scored two goals. That’s one every 760 minutes, or every eight and a half games.

In 398 minutes as a sub he’s scored four times. That’s one every 100 minutes.

In conclusion, he’s not exactly pulling up trees but is more likely to pull up a tree as a substitute.  Using him as a starter is tantamount to playing with 10 men as he doesn’t add much to the team’s overall play.

This is why he’s not getting minutes.

There was a follow on Twitter discussion that Fulham are preparing for the Championship, hence the likes of Bent not playing.  I think this is nonsense, and that we’re actually fielding our strongest available team now.  This includes young players.  Far better to try a hungry and able 18 year old than someone who has proven in the last season that he’s no longer capable of contributing at this level.  I can’t think of a single player who’s missing out on first team minutes at the moment who deserves to be out there.  I really can’t.

4 thoughts on “On Darren Bent

  1. Nearly totally agree. Good article.

    Maybe Karagounis brings more to the team than Kvist though. Can’t play a full game but always lifts the performance when subbed on.

  2. Quite. Bent living off a name. Woodrow and Dembele have shown more promise and drive, as well as providing a better focal point for the team, in their short appearances than Bent has managed all season.

    Crucial to note that during his “golden” days- Sunderland- he often played in a two upfront with Jones, who provided the foil to Bent’s hanging on. He is not a lone striker, just as Owen found out when he rediscovered English football and how it had moved on at Newcastle.

    I’d hasten to add that perhaps Chris David is missing out on game time, maybe Tankovic too, but really, the first team starting 16 is the strongest it can be at the moment.

  3. I think the likelihood is that Darren Bent needs a lot of time on the pitch because he needs a good few chances, and has a decent enough conversion of goals from chances. Rich’s earlier charts showed that the first part of the season (when Bent played more frequently) was really when we didn’t make many chances at all. Thus, he didn’t scored many. And sadly, there were some big moments when the chances did fall and he missed, probably shorn a little of confidence & equally because it was his only chance, but in games that would’ve made a difference. Given another two or three chances in those games, I’m sure he would’ve taken them….but sadly we weren’t creating enough overall.

    The other difficulty is that he really doesn’t offer an awful lot outside of that. Sure he makes runs, and he jumps to try to head the ball, and he’ll try to hassle full backs & centre-halves….but he’s not particularly good at any of those elements. If you think back to Zamora, McBride, and even to a degree Berbatov – much better players outside of the box….physical, holding the ball up, they would offer the team something & offered defenders problems. And similarly with Andy Johnson, hassling defenders stretching them – his running outside the box was far more useful than Bent’s. I get the feeling that a Sylvian Distin or even a Steven Caulker finds playing against Darren Bent a bit of a ‘free’ afternoon at the office.

    I would imagine that Felix is none too enamoured with any of his choices he’s been left with up front. Bent doesn’t offer him enough; Rodagella’s confidence has disappeared, as has he; Mitroglou hasn’t appeared to be fit/ready/interested. So the two youngsters have been thrown in because (a) they’re keen & prepared to work hard, (b) they’re unpredictable and the opposition aren’t sure what to expect and (c) they are talented and *may* in time develop into top rate players in the Premier League. So it’s understandable to a point….you could argue all day that a more experienced player might have gobbled up the chance that Dembele had on 45mins. Equally they might not have.

    The one who I wondered aloud as to whether they would’ve made the difference on Sunday, was Berbatov. It felt exactly the type of game where he made a huge difference for us – when we were actually on top, harrying the opposition, winning the ball up the park, forcing errors & his quality in and around the box made the difference. Too often this season we were expecting him to make a real difference from somewhere around the half way line. And, given he’s ‘out on loan’ you do wonder whether or not the club would’ve been better off keeping him for the remainder of the season, given the paucity of other options. It all feels tied into the absolute mess the club made of the transfer window/removing Rene/bringing in Magath after the window was closed.

    It’s done now & I guess the likelihood is we’re relegated and we’ll be in the market for new & different players in the summer at any rate, and if we are going down it feels fresher at least to play Woodrow (who’s looked super & been refreshing to see) and Dembele to give them a taste of it, with a viewpoint to them making up 2 of the 4 striking options we’ll probably need for a crack at the Championship.

    Finally, I echo the sentiments above – Karagounis feels like a player who could be involved still, albeit for 30mins cameos. He never looks like he has to ‘settle in’ to a game, has a high energy & involvement level, and also has a decent shot on him from distance. You would’ve thought there could still be a role for him within the wider team.

    1. Maybe Diarra and Karagounis could play 90 minutes between them. Concerning Bent, the original post and responses are fair enough, albeit that a goal every 100 minutes is hardly an indictment. His few goals have included some result-earners too — a very cool winner v. Stoke, the clever killer blow against Everton in the cup, that equaliser at Old Trafford. But yes, his lack of an all-round game, inability to hold the ball up for us (or Villa) and latter-day lack of pace and mobility are all disqualifications.

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