Aston Villa have signed playmaker Carlos Gil from Valencia with the expectation he will improve Villa's chances in front of goal. Villa are by far the lowest scorers in the Premier League with just 11 goals in 21 games. At this rate, they are likely to beat Derby County's Premier League all-time record of the lowest goals scored (20), set in the 2007/08 season.
However, Villa's problems are more acute than just a sheer lack of goalscorers; indeed, Gabriel's Agbonlahor's record of 11, 12 and 13 goals scored in the 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10 seasons shows he can hit the net with some accuracy. Likewise, Benteke scored 16 goals in the 2012/13 season and 10 in what was an injury hit campaign last season.
Rather Villa's main problem is a creation of chances. As per WhoScored, Paul Lambert's side rank the worst in the league for shots per game with just 10.2 and also on shots on target per game with just 2.7.
Looking precisely at what Villa do when they are on the ball it is easy to why they struggle to create chances on goal. They rank 17th for dribbles per game with 6.6 and possession wise they rank 15th with 45.9%.
In terms of their territory percentage on the field, Villa rank 4th for the amount of time they keep the ball in their own half (29%). They also rank joint 19th for the amount of time they keep the ball in the opposition half (23%).
Of course, as a team that is heavily centred around counter attacking football, it is to expected that they rank lowly for dribbles per game, possession and territory. However, that Villa have failed to score from a counter attacking situation this season speaks of their inadequacy.
This is where Carles Gil comes in. Gil is a technician who is quite compatible with Villa's overall attacking game. Using stats from last season when he was on loan with Elche, it is clear Gil is a step above anyone Villa have in the creative department. His average of 1.6 dribbles would make him the second best dribbler at Aston Villa, far above Agbonlahor and behind only Fabian Delph. Likewise, his key pass average of 1.2 would put him second, behind only Ashley Westwood but above Tom Cleverley. To top it all off, Gil's passing percentage of 84.7% would rank him 4th out of all of Villa's midfielders to have started 10 games or more - a good feat considering he is far more attacking minded than Cleverley, Carlos Sanchez and Delph.
There is a question mark over Gil's overall efficiency in front of goal, however. Last season for Elche he scored only once and assisted twice in 29 starts and 33 overall appearances. Though this has improved somewhat in the half a season he has played for Valencia (1 goal and assist in 2 starts and 8 overall appearances).
What this does show is that perhaps it is not wise to dump every hope and expectation on a 22 year old with little first team experience moving into a foreign country. Nonetheless, Gil has given something for Villa fans to get excited about.
Check out Gil's best performance this season against Cordoba as he helped Valencia to win this La Liga fixture 3-0.
*Statistics from WhoScored.