x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Premier League round-up: Bent does not want to play the villain's part

Darren Bent aplogies to Villa fans via Twitter; Terry injury minor; Leonardo will not swoop in on Tevez; Jarvis 'back to his best' for Wolves.

Aston Villa fans are hoping to see Darren Bent running on their pitch instead of shopping malls on Wednesday when they face Arsenal.
Aston Villa fans are hoping to see Darren Bent running on their pitch instead of shopping malls on Wednesday when they face Arsenal.

Aston Villa are hoping Darren Bent will be fit for Wednesday's home game with Arsenal after playing down his shopping excursion during Sunday's defeat to Liverpool.

Bent missed the 2-0 loss at Villa Park with a thigh problem and some supporters voiced their displeasure at a picture posted online of the club's record signing buying Christmas presents during the game.

Alex McLeish, the Villa manager, said: "We can't gamble with Darren. He has to tell me he's not feeling it [the injury] and say 'I'm OK to start'.

"Then he'll be back in the reckoning without question."

Bent reported to the club's Bodymoor Heath training ground on Sunday morning and received two hours of treatment.

He was told by the club's doctors to go home, where he watched the majority of the Premier League clash with Liverpool on television.

It was then that Bent decided to go shopping, which led to consternation from some supporters.

Jonathan Fear, editor of the fans' website Vital Villa, said: "If Darren was told to go home by the club doctors then that explains things and why he wasn't at the game.

"But even if he does care for Villa, symbolically going out shopping during the latter part of the game makes it look to the fans that he doesn't give a stuff for Villa."

Bent already has issued an apology on Twitter. It read: "Nothing is more important to me than playing football, sadly injury meant I wasn't able to do that today. Gutted not to be involved.

"I hope to be back very soon. Watched the majority of he game on TV. Never knew popping out would cause an issue and for that I apologise."

Meanwhile, Stiliyan Petrov, the Villa captain, has dismissed speculation linking him with a January move to Sunderland, who are now managed by the former Villa manager Martin O'Neill.

"That came out from the blue," the Bulgarian said. "I'm very happy at Villa. When the transfer windows come there is speculation, but I'm a Villa player and every time I go out I play with all my heart. I don't have the intention to go. I want to stay. It's up to them if they want me, but I'd love to stay and I'm enjoying it."

Petrov believes Villa do need to bring in some new players next month.

"In the Premier League you cannot afford not to add players during the transfer windows," he said. "I'm sure Alex [McLeish] will be given the money to strengthen the squad and I hope he can get it because he deserves it.

"He has been working really hard and it will be nice to see a couple of new faces."

CHELSEA

Chelsea were breathing a sigh of relief Monday after a nasty-looking injury to the captain John Terry was found to be less serious than first feared. The centre-back went down with a right ankle problem during an open training session at Stamford Bridge after blocking a shot, and he had to be helped from the pitch by two physios while suffering some distress. But after receiving treatment, medical personnel said that Terry had only tweaked his Achilles and he should still be available for Thursday's Premier League clash with Tottenham Hotspur. Terry took part in the training session despite taking a blow to the knee in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic.

LIVERPOOL

The midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has set his sights on becoming a regular in Liverpool's first team after impressing on his Premier League breakthrough against Aston Villa. Shelvey was handed his first league start by manager Kenny Dalglish and played a part in the build-up to the first goal for Craig Bellamy in Liverpool's 2-0 win. Shelvey said: "It was good to get the shout to play and hopefully I repaid the gaffer with the performance, and I hope I'm worthy of starting the next game and hopefully kick on from here. He has put a lot of trust in me, and I thank him for that, but I feel I've deserved the chance to start a Premier League game."

MANCHESTER CITY

Paris Saint-Germain have announced they will not interfere with AC Milan's plans to sign the Manchester City forward Carlos Tevezin January. Reports in Italy claimed PSG were prepared to beat Milan in the race to sign Tevez. However, PSG director of football Leonardo, a former coach of AC Milan and Inter, told the Italian newspaper La Repubblica: "I will not steal Tevez from Milan. I have not contacted the player and I will not get in between the Rossoneri's affairs. Even though I didn't share the views of [AC Milan owner Silvio] Berlusconi, which meant it was impossible for me to stay at Milan, the relations with the club are good." PSG and Milan meet in the Dubai Football Challenge friendly match at Al Ahli club on January 4.

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

The striker Emmanuel Adebayor has warned that Tottenham will not finish in the top four if they repeat the kind of poor display which saw them limp to a 1-0 victory over Sunderland on Sunday. "If we want to be in the top four we have to play better than we did against Sunderland," Adebayor told Spurs TV Online. "I don't know happened in the first half. I don't really want to know. I'm just glad that the game is over."

WOLVERHAMPTON

Mick McCarthy, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, believes the winger Matt Jarvis has regained the form which won him an England cap. "I think Jarvo has been excellent, certainly in the last two games," McCarthy said ahead of tonight's home Premier League clash with Norwich City. Tony Pulis, the Stoke City manager, replaced makeshift right-back Jonathan Woodgate after only 20 minutes at the weekend after he had been given a roasting by Jarvis and given away a penalty for fouling him. McCarthy said: "Against Manchester United, [Jarvis] was terrific, and the reality is he caused havoc for 20 minutes against Stoke. He got 'assaulted' on one occasion and then got tripped for the penalty. Tony [Pulis] had to take Woodgate off. It means he must be back to his best."