Darren Bent made the best possible start to his Aston Villa career with the only goal of the game against Manchester City.

Gerard Houllier was thrilled; Steve Bruce was probably still whining about Bent’s move to Villa Park. But he more than many should appreciate that loyalty went out of the game a long time ago – a quick look at his managerial career illustrates that.

Bruce’s Sunderland gained some measure of revenge over Blackpool for December’s 2-0 reverse (in which Bent and his erstwhile pals had 436 shots to Blackpool’s two), coming away from Bloomfield Road with a 2-1 win.

Charlie Adam celebrated scoring the penalty that looked like bringing Blackpool back into the game by thumping the badge on his chest. So he’s off to Liverpool then. If Bruce’s reaction to losing his star player was animated, just wait to see what Ian Holloway can come up with. It should be entertaining…

Kenny Dalglish finally got his first win as Liverpool boss, with a brace from Fernando Torres and Raul Meireles securing the points against Wolves at Molineux.

At the top of the table, hat-tricks were the order of the day. Dimitar Berbatov’s treble helped Manchester United to a 5-0 over Birmingham, while at The Emirates, Robin van Persie’s own treble put paid to Wigan. He could have secured the match ball earlier from the spot, but opted to pick out a person in the crowd instead.

Spurs had Joey Barton to thank for their point at Newcastle; 1-0 up in added time and with options either side as he broke forward, Barton opted to leather a ‘through ball’ miles ahead of any team mate and into the arms of Carlo Cudicini. A few seconds later, Aaron Lennon’s crisp finish was rippling the net.

West Ham were seconds away from securing three points at Everton before Marouane Fellaini equalised in the lengthy stoppage time caused in part by Frederic Piquionne’s celebration and subsequent dismissal after he put the Hammers ahead. It’s a cruel game when celebrating a vital late goal has a double sting.

On Sunday, Blackburn brushed aside the challenge of West Brom, a team in a rut and not getting the rub of the green.

Had ref Mark Clattenburg and his assistant given the Baggies the spot kick they had earned as opposed to a free-kick outside the area, things could have been different. Six defeats from seven means West Brom might yet be taking the Championship by storm next season.

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