After drawing 1-1 in the first game of the season at home to Hull, many Villa fans (including me) have been quick to criticize Leandro Bacuna and ask why he is picked over Conor Hourihane?

Some sections of the Villa faithful cheered ironically when Bacuna got substituted off and this surely can not help his confidence for the coming season. Although I didn’t cheer myself, I can understand why some may have, as his performance was truly one to forget.

The choice to start Bacuna has made many a fan question Bruce’s decision making, as Conor Hourihane is definitely more reliable in this role. In this article, I am going to explain why I feel that the former Barnsley man should be starting ahead of Bacuna.

Hourihane should start ahead of BacunaIn the game over the weekend, there is enough evidence for everyone to see why Bacuna shouldn’t be in the starting line-up. He gave the ball away too often in the middle of the park, I specifically remember him trying a back-heel to Neil Taylor and he subsequently gave the ball straight to the Hull defence.

On the other hand, he did make some good attacking runs when he received the ball, however, the majority of these amounted to absolutely nothing. When Bacuna tried to pass the ball at the end of his runs, he gave it away too often and left the Villa fans frustrated because of these wasted opportunities.

Hourihane has a lot more experience in this league, and he was the captain of fellow championship club Barnsley before we signed him last season. I believe he has contributed a lot more to the club than Bacuna during his short spell with the club.

Hourihane also finished as the joint top assist maker in the championship last season, with another Villa player (Albert Adomah). This is enough reason that highlights why I would pick him over the former Groningen midfielder.

Bacuna’s attitude since being at Aston Villa has been questioned on more than one occasion. Do I need you to remind you about his comments regarding Champions League football when we were relegated?

He also mouthed off to the some of the Villa fans after we drew away to Wycombe Wanderers, AND he was banned for head-butting a linesman last season – which was admittedly a bit harsh, but even so, it doesn’t present the right attitude.

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To summarise I would like to say that Bacuna is not good enough for the starting line-up, especially not over Hourihane. I accept that Hourihane hasn’t been fantastic since his move from Barnsley but Bruce must try to get the best out of a player who offered a rival club so much last season.

Do you agree with me or do you think Bacuna deserves his place over Hourihane? Let me know in the comments section below.



  1. I basically mirror everything you have said there it’s time he was moved on and think 99.9% of villa fans think the same

  2. Bacuna should have been out of this club following the 6 nil drubbing at the hands of Liverpool in 2016. Amongst a pathetic team display, individually he was a disgrace. This isn’t the first time he has stopped running and watched an opposition player score. He has no fight, determination or tactical awareness.

  3. Agree with you Sam. Simply put his attitude stinks and has done for enough seasons now. My personal opinion says that Bacuna, Gabby & Richards still need weeding out of the club, the sooner the better, as their collective attitudes during relegation were horrific. That’s without mentioning the fact that their play was very poor. I’d also suggest that I would be moving Hutton on. His work rate cannot be questioned but positionally he gives up so much on a continual basis and goes missing or gets pulled into situations he just doesn’t need to be in. However if no-one wants these football buffoons then we are pretty much stuck until their contracts run out or we just terminate their contracts mutually or something. The dregs of Lerner et al. still haunting the club with poor footballing decisions!

  4. I agree Sam. I’m not a regular at Villa Park, but when I do watch Bacuna frustrates the life out of me.

  5. I totally agree with you, Sam. I’m an Aston Villa-fan, and I also think that Bacuna shouldn’t be in the starting line-up. I have said that a long time ago. Bacuna was never really good enough for us anyway, so I think it is time to sell him.

  6. Bacuna is his own worst enemy. Why he can not just look up and look where he is passing the ball. He also gave the impression when Hull attacked, that he was hiding from the play and it was not his job to defend. The Hull goal, he did not mark the incoming goal scorer he was standing back from the play. It was obvious that there were two Hull players unmarked on their left wing, but apparently not to him. If he did notice it, he was too lazy to help his team mate Hutton. I do not think he knows what his roll is in the team, but what ever it is, he did not perform it and the villa crowd knew it. He was out of his depth and Bruce should not have let him drown.

  7. Totally agree. Confuses me why Bruce with all his experience as player n coach puts faith in him. Especially this season with new players. Bruce also comments that the youngsters coming through need to start knocking on the door. Well here’s a chance. They could let bacuna out on the way in….

  8. Sell him?? …. I would give him away and drive him there. I can’t believe we turned down good money for him.

    As for the article, I can’t believe you even felt the need to write a comparison between the two. Bacuna as a CM’er is a square peg (and a not very good square peg) in a round hole. Last January, when Hourihane – who was probably up there with Shelvey and Mooy as the pick of the division’s CM’ers – was brought in he was deployed as an attacking midfielder whilst Lansbury was asked to anchor the CM. This was a complete reversal of the roles that the two had played for the first half of the season and probably explains why neither have been as effective at the Villa.

    Only Brucie knows why he is making these stupid selections and it is clear to everyone else, irrespective of what Brucie sees on the training ground, that they are just that!


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