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The Bacuna Dilemma

Could the addition of Carles Gil revitalise one of Villa's other attacking talents?

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

As well as being a catchy name for a spy thriller, this is what Paul Lambert is facing right now. What do you with Leandro Bacuna?

Anyone watching his performance against Bournemouth in the FA Cup should've come away with the impression that he had a poor game. His touch was atrocious at times, he dribbled into trouble and was a frequent culprit for Bournemouth gaining possession and running through the middle of the Villa midfield.

But he also had a hand in both of our goals.

I particularly want to have a look at his role in the second goal:

A touch of class

The second pass here, into Hutton is a wonderful ball, curling exquisitely into his path. But I want to concentrate on Bacuna's first pass, the neat one-two with Gil, because it's a wonderfully intelligent moment that is absolutely crucial. Bacuna needs time on the ball and needs Hutton to make the run behind before releasing. So he quickly slides the ball into Gil and for a single moment, three Bournemouth players move towards Gil - wary of a repeat of his wonderstrike. The midfielder confronting Bacuna backs off, and the two defenders shift towards him, leaving space for Hutton. Gil slides the ball back to Bacuna who can now release Hutton in behind, with the fantastic second pass. The first pass is vital to the second.

That moment of class that Bacuna can provide, and that instinctive wing play is something that arguably Villa don't possess in any other player on the pitch. He very clearly connects with Alan Hutton in a way we haven't seen up until now, and it happened in the first half as well for Weimann's narrowly missed header.

Is there space in the side?

Now arguably with Gil in the side and Delph and Weimann probably returning to the regular first-team, the Villans have filled up the creative absence in the team. Sanchez will retain the defensive position that he's growing into. Lambert's preference up until now this season has been to give the remaining space to Thomas Cleverley or Ashley Westwood, valuing their defensive workrate and tidiness in possession.

But what happens when teams begin to target Gil?

The last thing we want is to buy our Spanish maestro and then see him targeted as our sole source of creative quality. But the above goal shows that Bacuna knows how to use the threat of Gil to gain space for his own creative talents.

Yes, Bacuna has shown weaknesses in a team that compounds his problems of playing under pressure. Put him in a five-a-side team with Guzan, Sanchez, N'Zogbia and Gabby and you could probably set some kind of record for loss of possession. But put him in a side which can create space - a side where Carles Gil and Andi Weimann are buzzing around in front of him - and he could be deadly.