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MacDonald shows Garde what not to do

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I'm not going to do a full tactical analysis for the Tottenham match because I can't really motivate myself to waste too much time thinking about the workings of Kevin MacDonald's mind.

But the match could have big tactical repercussions for a reason that was beautifully summed up by this Tweet:

MacDonald's opening line-up was so wacky that it led Gary Neville on Sky Sports to speculate it was a deliberate two fingers up at the management and their recruitment policy, excluding all the summer signings to field a line-up full of all the British grit and Premier League experience you could hope for. It was also hopeless, lacking any coherent plan, with players out of position and isolated across the pitch.

So here's just a few of the more obvious dos and don'ts as helpfully illustrated by Kevin MacDonald:

DON'T play Gabriel Abgonlahor as a lone striker - Poor Gabby's heart must sink every time he sees himself put in as the only recognised striker in the team, a position that various managers have shoved him into over the years with no regard for his complete lack of aptitude towards the role.

More than a few were commenting that it could essentially be the end of his Premier League career but it would be a harsh one, considering he provided the assist for Jordan Ayew against Swansea only the previous League game, when given a chance to actually make a counter-attacking run.

He wants to play on the shoulder of the last man, with balls played in behind the defence, preferably alongside a big target man, but at least with a partner. Instead he was forced into a kind of No. 10 role, with his back to the goal, trying to win headers against the hulking forms of Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. He simply never got on the ball.

DO play Jordan Ayew up front - MacDonald was apparently reluctantly forced into putting Ayew on the field when Ashley Westwood went off due to being clotheslined by Moussa Dembéle.

It's always a shame to have to put on a striker who has scored and won a penalty in his most recent games, but at least MacDonald could play him out of position on the right wing and as a bonus get Leandro Bacuna out of position in central midfield, where he was partially responsible for losing Dele Alli for Tottenham´s second goal.

Finally Ayew was moved up front, alongside Rudy Gestede where he promptly shone, his tidy footwork keeping attacks moving and his mobility behind the battering ram that is Gestede proving difficult for Tottenham to keep a hold of, which eventually resulted in his goal.

DON´T play Jack Grealish as a pressing second-striker - Perhaps the saddest sight of the first-half was poor Grealish repeatedly scampering upfield to press the Tottenham defence all on his lonesome, presumably under direct instructions from MacDonald to tire himself out so much that he couldn't ruin the plan by making a good pass.

The plan worked perfectly with Grealish soon tiring himself out and completely bossed out of the game by Dele Alli and Eric Dier. The contrast between Villa forcing their young English star to play isolated and out of position - a quick reminder again that he came up through the youth sides as a left winger and has half a season of promising performances as an attacking central midfielder - while Tottenham's English duo of Dier and Alli develop into an effective partnership was tragic.

DO play Carles Gil behind your attackers - Though Ayew and Gestede eventually made a difference, it was Gil's control of the ball and ability to shift it forward which really gave Villa the foothold in the game that they managed in the last 20 minutes.

His ability to spread the ball quickly to the wings was hugely important in sparking attacks, while his dribbling ability forced the Tottenham defence back and created the space around the edge of the box which Villa could use to get shots away. Garde must find a way to incorporate him into his starting XI.

What Garde can take away

These are really only a few points which help highlight just how perfectly MacDonald managed to encapsulate everything wrong with managerial decisions so far.

We might also mention Scott Sinclair's decent performance being undercut by his utter lack of support from Kieran Richardson, played again over Jordan Amavi who Sinclair had shown signs of a partnership with early in the season, or Ciaran Clark out of position and shown up on the right side of defence, or the decision to take Idrissa Gana out of the matchday squad entirely while Dembele ripped the Villa midfield apart.

Either way the point is that Rémi Garde should have all the evidence he needs to believe that anyone who states that the problem is the summer signings weren't good enough and the key is playing British, Premier League experience, preferably in a 4-4-2 is talking the biggest load of bollocks spouted out of a sewage pipe of a brain seen since Tim Sherwood told us we wouldn't be in a relegation battle again this season.