Kevin MacDonald got his team selection horribly wrong on Monday night in Aston Villa's 3-1 defeat to Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Whether MacDonald was trying to make a point about the new signings or not by having a bench composed entirely of Villa summer signings, Monday's match made it very clear that if Villa are going to somehow avoid relegation in the Premier League this season, they need the performances of the new signings to be the reason why.
With a starting XI full of "Premier League experience" and "cool heads" that so many old-school football pundits and managers constantly talk up, Villa looked horribly uninspiring at Tottenham. But when Carles Gil entered the game in the 65th minute and started combining with Villa's other attacking substitutes, the claret and blues looked like a completely different side and nearly earned a result.
Here are the Aston Villa player ratings from Monday's defeat to Tottenham, along with some analysis and stats, with the Villans rated on a scale of 1 to 10:
GK: Brad Guzan, Rating: 4
Guzan's habit of allowing shots to go directly through him into the center of his net took three minutes to manifest itself on Saturday as Mousa Dembele found a hole between the American's legs for the opening goal. Besides that, Guzan played alright in net, with neither of the other two Tottenham goals falling on his shoulders.
RB: Alan Hutton, Rating: 5
Hutton was certainly involved on Monday night at both ends of the pitch as he appeared motivated to both impress the watching new Villa manager Remi Garde and get one over on his former club Tottenham. He lacked quality in moments both defensively and offensively, but as has been the case for much of this season, Hutton is certainly more than willing to put in a hard-working shift for the club each match.
CB: Ciaran Clark, Rating: 2
The first two Tottenham goals both resulted from Clark's lack of knowledge of how to play the right center back position, which in turn falls on McDonald's managing for placing Clark in that role instead of the more experienced Lescott or even Hutton. Clark was caught on the wrong side of the ball for the first goal and naively let Dembele in. And for the second goal, during which he could've easily blocked Alli's shot by taking one step to his left, Clark roamed aimlessly on the outside of the Villa goal and saw the ball whiz right by him into the net. The first goal looked bad from Clark, but after watching replays, the second goal might have been even worse from a player that is a full international for his country.
CB: Joleon Lescott, Rating: 5
An improved showing from Lescott. He wasn't the mistake-ridden, nervy player that Villa fans have seen throughout much of this season. Instead, he handled the task of marking Harry Kane well, and prevented Tottenham from having many scoring chances, despite the unlucky final scoreline.
LB: Kieran Richardson, Rating: 3
How Richardson started over Jordan Amavi AGAIN is beyond me. Again, he was sloppy defensively, earning a booking and misplacing several passes. And Richardson is nowhere near good enough technically to warrant a regular starting place in this or any other Premier League squad. But hey, he has EXPERIENCE, right?
CM: Ashley Westwood, Rating: 5
Started well and had some decent touches before suffering a head injury that forced him off and was ignored for almost two minutes by Mike Dean. Seriously, Dean shouldn't be allowed to referee again this season after he let play continue for that long while a likely concussed player was out on the ground in the middle of the action. What a joke.
CM: Carlos Sanchez, Rating: 6
Four tackles and five interceptions from Sanchez, who was one of a few starters who didn't hurt his chances of playing more when Garde actually takes over. I'm actually really excited to see Sanchez fit into the new manager's setup based on the good things I've heard of Garde utilizing defensive midfielders that break up play like Villa's Afro-ed Colombian does.
CM: Leandro Bacuna, Rating: 4
For a player right in the thick of the action in midfield, Bacuna was completely anonymous for much of the match. But he nearly made a huge impact in two instances late. He hit the post with a fine curling strike in the 79th minute and then found the head of Gestede for a great chance that could've been an equalizer a few minutes later. If Villa can see more of that Bacuna, that'd be nice.
RW: Jack Grealish, Rating: 3
From the first minute, when Grealish compounded the mistake of not recognizing the great run of a teammate into the Spurs box by misplacing the safer pass anyways, Villa's teenage talent was poor. Grealish struggled throughout his 65 minutes on the pitch and could do with some time coming of the bench. Hopefully Garde can get the best out of Grealish, who has disappointed for much of this season.
LW: Scott Sinclair, Rating: 4
Sinclair didn't get on the ball much, but he at least tried to make things happen when he did. The English winger stung the palms of Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in the 11th minute after beating a defender and rifling a shot on target. But unfortunately Sinclair faded from the match for large stretches and wasn't even visible when Villa were dominating in the final 15 minutes.
ST: Gabby Agbonlahor, Rating: 2
Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher laughed at Agbonlahor's lack of impact on this match, and rightfully so. In his 45 minutes on the pitch, 25-percent of Gabby's touches were on Villa kick-offs following Tottenham goals. That's embarrassing from a player that used to be pretty good at football.
RW/LS: Jordan Ayew, Rating: 6
It took Ayew awhile to get his feet under him after replacing the injured Westwood. But when he finally moved to the left striker position in the final 20 minutes, what an impact he made. He scored with a lucky deflection and almost scored another on a great strike that just went over the crossbar. After contributing to goals in each of Villa's last three matches, Ayew is a MUST-START going forward.
ST: Rudy Gestede, Rating: 5
It took Gestede's teammates about 30 minutes to realize that they had a somewhat competent striker on the pitch, but when they did, Villa finally got going. Gestede should've scored with a header from Bacuna's cross but narrowly missed an empty net. He still isn't great. But with his aerial ability, shown again on Monday with seven headers won in 45 minutes, Gestede probably deserves to start most matches.
CAM: Carles Gil, Rating: 8
Gil's introduction really sparked Villa to life, with his purposeful dribbling and neat 95-percent passing impressing not only Villa fans on Monday, but also the White Hart Lane crowd who acknowledged the Spaniard's obvious -- but often unrecognized and under-utilized -- talents. Another player who needs to start in games going forward, Gil brought a refreshingly positive attitude and style of play to Aston Villa on Monday.