While Aston Villa midfielder Carles Gil has been at the club for just a few weeks, the Spaniard has made his class more than evident in that time.
Signed from Valencia last month for a reported £3.25 million fee, Gil arrived at Villa Park with the hope of becoming the creative spark which Paul Lambert’s side have lacked this season and, after three Premier League games, it looks like he could well be the answer.
After a promising second-half debut in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool, Gil would mark his first start for the club with a stunning strike in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Bournemouth to cement his place in the line-up moving forward.
A disappointing 5-0 thumping at Arsenal followed, but even then the former Spain Under-21 international underlined his potential, recording 11 crosses and eight dribbles over the course of the match – both the most recorded in a league game this season for Paul Lambert’s side.
He was at it again in the weekend’s Chelsea clash, delivering the cross for Jores Okore’s far-post header which ended the club’s 11-hour goal drought and, while the club would go on to taste a 2-1 defeat, the overall performance was a big improvement on recent weeks.
Gil’s impact thus far is highlighted in the fact that, among those in the Premier League who’ve seen more than 100 minutes of action this season, he has completed the most successful dribbles per minute – more than names such as Eden Hazard, Alexis Sanchez and Raheem Sterling - with a remarkable 70 per cent success rate.
|Position||Team||Successful Dribbles MINS||Total Dribbles||Successful Dribbles||Dribble Accuracy||Overrun||Mins Played||Appearances|
|Carles Gil||MF||Aston Villa||15.07||20||14||70%||0||211||3|
At just 22, and having moved to a new league, it was expected that he would need some time to adapt to the rigours of English football, but Gil’s start to life in the West Midlands has shown few signs of teething problems during its initial stages.
With Villa notching just 12 top-flight goals in the 24 games this season, the creative attacker’s continued presence in the line-up should provide the likes of Christian Benteke with more service up top over the coming weeks, as the team look to avoid another potential relegation battle.
Sitting just two points above the relegation zone in 16th-place after nine matches without a win, tonight’s trip to 18th-place Hull presents a fixture in which Gil can further endear himself to the claret and blue faithful.