Darren Bent returns to White Hart Lane today following his transfer to the North East this summer. The Black Cat will be crossing Harry Redknapp’s path for the first time since his departure, and some of Spurs' more superstitious fans might be dreading the return.
The English striker, sold for £10m, has been on electric form this season. Bent has scored eight Premier League goals in 11 appearances for his new employers.
Despite this, the stats suggest that it would be a much livelier affair if this game was taking place at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. The Black Cats are the third top scorers in the division at home, their 15 goals scored is enough to match league-topping Chelsea.
At the same time, they’ve conceded the fourth most goals at home—shipping in nine in front of their home support. The Lilywhites, for their part, are the third-best scorers away from home in the league, with 11 goals scored.
But football isn’t all about statistics and Bent will be relishing the chance to put one over on Redknapp, a man who compared Bent’s finishing to his own wife’s at a similar stage last season.
Bent must be itching to prove his former manager wrong, and today provides an excellent opportunity. It would surely be sweet for the former Charlton Athletic striker to get one over on Redknapp and his Lilywhites.
In truth, no matter what happens this afternoon the deal has been good for all parties concerned. Bent has taken the opportunity for a fresh start with both hands, and although Fabio Capello has yet to integrate the forward into his plans, if the Sunderland striker keeps up his goal scoring form the Italian maestro cannot continue to ignore him.
Sunderland and Steve Bruce are reaping the rewards of Bent’s fine form. They currently sit in a well-deserved eighth position in the Premier League, behind a pack of the usual suspects. If they can improve their away form and tighten up slightly at the back, they might even pinch a Europa League spot come the end of the season.
As for Spurs, they’ve barely missed their top scorer from last season. Jermaine Defoe has been in fine goal-scoring form himself, and they have a good blend of attacking talent at their disposal. They also sit in an impressive fifth position in the Premier League, and look nailed on for a Europa League spot at a minimum.
But if you gave me a choice between Darren Bent and Peter Crouch, I know who I’d pick every time. He currently sits third in the goal scoring charts behind Fernando Torres and Didier Drogba, and ahead of Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe, Peter Crouch, and Carlton Cole.
Let’s hope he can keep up that form with another brace this afternoon against Tottenham.