Sport In a stew: Downing is counting on a Cup win to build confidence

Being known as a "Cup team" is a mixed compliment, implying the ability to raise your game for one-off occasions, but never to sustain it. If Wigan Athletic, FA Cup winners relegated within a week, are newcomers to the genre, West Ham United have been at it rather longer.

Darren Bent claims he can handle expectations

Darren Bent insists he can handle the pressure of being Aston Villa's record signing after completing his £18million move from Sunderland.

Bruce accuses Bent of betraying Sunderland

Manager says £24m striker failed to give his all in build-up to Aston Villa move

Aston Villa sign Darren Bent in record deal

Aston Villa have smashed their transfer record in signing Sunderland striker Darren Bent in a deal which could eventually be worth £24million.

Darren Bent hands in transfer request

Aston Villa will have to come up with in excess of £20m to persuade Sunderland to part company with striker Darren Bent.

Collins rescues vital Villa point in Midlands derby

Birmingham 1 Aston Villa 1

Bardsley sends Villa into the dropzone

Aston Villa 0 Sunderland 1

Bruce shuts up shop to all but 'crazy offers'

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce insists only a "ridiculous" offer would prompt him even to think about selling one of his key players this month.

Van der Vaart scores two as Spurs beat Villa 2-1

Aston Villa 1 Tottenham 2

Heskey heads Villain the right direction

Aston Villa 2 West Bromwich Albion 1: Ex-Anfield striker stirs happier memories for Houllier as Di Matteo suffers

Pedersen provides the welcome to greet Rovers' new owners in style

Blackburn Rovers 2 Aston Villa 0

Albrighton has Fulham all at sea but then ensures their rescue

Fulham 1 Aston Villa 1

Fulham share spoils after last-gasp equaliser

Fulham 1 Aston Villa 1

Houllier refuses to take credit for Aston Villa win

Gerard Houllier refused to take credit for the double substitution which spared Aston Villa's blushes and booked them a Carling Cup quarter-final spot.

Downing's stunning strike ensures Villa do not pay for their profligacy

Aston Villa 2 Burnley 1 (aet)

Downing sends Villa through at expense of brave Burnley

Aston Villa 2 Burnley 1 (after extra-time)
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Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
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China's influence on fashion

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The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
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Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before