Eleven games played, five goals scored and sixteen conceded – Aston Villa’s performance so far in the Premier League makes for ugly reading.
The West Midlands side may have at last halted a six-game losing streak with Saturday’s scoreless draw against West Ham, but for that goalkeeper Brad Guzan can take much credit.
It’s creativity – and as a result, scoring goals – that remains the chief problem for Paul Lambert’s men, and the numbers behind it tell a grim story.
Villa have created the least chances in the top flight with 69, also ranking last in the division with a chance created every 14.4 minutes on average.
|Chances Created||Minutes per Chance Created||Big Chances Created|
Only Hull City have manufactured less than Villa's six clear-cut chances with three this term. By contrast, Manchester City and Chelsea each sit on 21 in this area.
Individually, Ashley Westwood has shouldered much of the load. The 24-year-old has created 17 chances. Tom Cleverley and Andreas Weimann are next with eight apiece.
|Position||Chances Created||Minutes per Chance Created||Big Chances Created|
What’s more is that not a single Villa player has created more than one big chance this season. Extra creativity simply needs to be added to the squad in January.
And Lambert would be wise to look towards a player who is yet to create a chance this season to do the job – Roma’s Salih Ucan.
The 20-year-old has been mired on the Giallorossi bench this season after joining in the summer behind the likes of Daniele De Rossi, Miralem Pjanic, Seydou Keita and Radja Nainggolan.
Landing at the Stadio Olimpico on a two-year loan with the option to buy, the Turkish midfielder has seen just four minutes of Serie A football, explaining his lack of production.
But Ucan is a true talent. He’s renowned in his homeland for his vision and excellence on the ball. Liverpool and Chelsea also wanted him last summer as revealed by his agent, only to be beaten to the punch.
Roma struck before the Premier League duo, but the highly-rated Ucan has suffered from the wealth of talent in their midfield. With Kevin Strootman returning from injury, it will only get harder for him to get on the pitch.
Sky Sport Italia reported this week that the Giallorossi have now opened up to the idea of loaning him out in January so that he can play regularly and continue developing.
Ucan would be a prime candidate to add verve to the Villa midfield. He’s a raw product, but has the creativity and confidence in his locker to make a difference at Villa Park.
Parma and Cesena are said to be eyeing up moves for him. Neither club could afford Ucan’s £15,000 per week wages, so there’s a reasonable expectation Roma might be willing to subsidise a loan just to get him consistent minutes.
Villa need exactly what Ucan has – and by all indicators he’s available. A loan move for him when the transfer window opens would be a wise piece of business and give the squad the necessary boost to stay out of the relegation fray.