It all started so brightly for the tricky Spaniard following his January transfer from Valencia, but having been seemingly frozen out of the first team by new manager Tim Sherwood, Carles Gil wants answers.
It looked for all the money as if Carles Gil would be the spark to save Villa's season. Indeed, he scored a world class goal in his debut against Bournemouth , securing the club a vital win, which would eventually lead Villa to the FA Cup Final at Wembley later this month. He followed this up by assisting Jores Okore's goal in the 2-1 defeat against Chelsea, ending Villa's six league game goalless run. However, following Tim Sherwood's appointment as Aston Villa manager, Gil has featured just once in the Premier League, and his future at the club may now be in doubt.
Appointing a new manager following the end of a transfer window is risky, one reason being that any new signings have been brought in to play a part in a system that is no longer in place. Whilst this would explain why Gil isn't featuring, it is still surprising, especially given that Gil should theoretically flourish with Sherwood's tactics. Villa now play with pace and width, and with Christian Benteke back in form, creative players like Gil and Leandro Bacuna have a man in the box to aim for.
One possible reason for Gil's absence is his defensive output, as he left his fullback painfully exposed during Villa's 5-0 defeat at Arsenal in February. In fact, it is believed that Tim Sherwood was referring to Gil prior to the QPR game:
"We’ve got a few men — but a lot of pretty much icing on the cake players. I’m trying to get that mentality into them to start digging out results. It’s not what we’re cut out to do."
It seems unlikely that defensive output is the only reason for leaving Gil out of the team though. Charles N'Zogbia is renowned for leaving his fullback exposed, yet he has featured significantly more for Tim Sherwood than Carles Gil ever has. It wouldn't be fair to blame Gil for the Arsenal loss either. In fact, Gil was probably Aston Villa's only offensive threat in that game. As for his defensive performance, it would be incredibly harsh to single him out in a game in which everyone played badly. Especially given that Kieran Richardson was Villa's left-back that day.
Given that Villa have struggled to score for large parts of the season, it seems surprising that a creative player like Gil can be dropped with no explanation, but given that Tim Sherwood has got the club firing again, Gil's absence hasn't been too costly thus far. Hopefully, Villa can inch themselves closer to safety with a win over Everton on Saturday, because questions will be asked if Villa do get relegated, given that they have left one of their most creative players out of the side for three months.