After going into the break at 2-0, it’s a tough one to take today, with Bournemouth’s late surge seeing us drop what could be a precious two points.
Here’s my thoughtson each player’s performance and my marks out of 10 for each.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy – Gayle
Dubravka – 7.5 – Made a smart near-post save to deny Bournemouth from a set piece early on and showed his reflexes and bravery late on to keep out Steve Cook’s goal-bound header. He continued to be martial the back four and bark out instructions from the get go. Kicking was solid and he was quick off his line again, coming to clear one ball in behind for Wilson and also showing his athleticism to pluck a dangerous cross out the air effortlessly. Could do little about their two goals. Another impressive display.
Yedlin – 7 – Had some joy down the right with some positive bursts beyond Ritchie, also looking equally sharp at the other end, staying switched on when it came to his defensive duties too. He’s been criticised for not getting forward as much and switching off at the back, but he was pretty on the ball at both ends today.
Lascelles – 8 – Regularly read the danger and got his head on absolutely everything that came into the box, also coming across to cover Yedlin quickly whenever the American was caught slightly further up the field. A commanding performance from the skipper, however he’ll be frustrated with the nature of their two late goals.
Lejeune – 8 – Kept it simple and dealt with the vast majority that was thrown at him by Bournemouth, either in the air or on the ground. He sometimes allows himself to get dragged out or pushed wide into areas he doesn’t want to be in, seeming a little too keen to win the ball back at times, however he looks much much better alongside Lascelles.
Dummett – 7 – Not too much help from Kenedy, who looked a little leggy, but was typically no nonsense and didn’t allow them to have too much joy down the right. Great cross helped cause chaos in the Bournemouth box just before Gayle’s opener.
Diame – 6.5 – Made a nuisance of himself in the middle and was quick to get into Bournemouth midfielders and step in to make any interceptions. A few too many slack touches/passes, seeing him lose possession in bad places from time to time. That being said, he did the dirty work well once again.
Shelvey – 7 – He may have missed a massive chance to put us 3-0 up but that can’t overshadow the fact he did well for the vast majority of the game. Played a huge part in our opening goal, setting Matt Ritchie in behind Charlie Daniels with a superbly weighted pass, allowing Ritchie to square for Gayle in the box. Tired towards the back end of the second half, but it was generally a more mature and measured display from him.
Ritchie – 7 – Dogged and kept battling for every ball on his return to the south coast. Put in the cross which was eventually tapped in by Gayle for our opener and looked more like the old Ritchie, showing signs of increased confidence after his goal last time out. Combined well with Yedlin in the first half and wasn’t on the fringes of the game (as we’ve seen him be prior to the Man Utd game). More like it.
Perez – 5 – Got on the ball more and looked willing and keen to get at them, however was very mixed with his final ball. Played a part in Gayle’s second, flashing a controlled drive across the box for Gayle to tap in. There were some promising moments, but he will be sat regretting his big chance to put us 3-0 up. Struggled to hold the ball late on, however he was left very isolated. A real mixed bag.
Kenedy – 5 – He was a little sloppier on the ball than we’ve been used to seeing him so far and didn’t really get into the game. Was a little slow to react when Dummett needed support defensively in the first half but did up his energy levels in the second half. Was taken off after just 63 minutes so it seems like he’s still to reach his peak fitness levels.
Gayle – 8.5 – Held the ball up surprisingly well and never stopped running and battling to make it difficult for the Bournemouth defenders and keep them on their toes. His two goals may have been tap ins but they were well deserved and the product of his persistence all game. We needed him to step up today after news that Slimani was going to be out another two weeks, and he did that – it’s just a real shame others couldn’t finish off some big chances to make it 3.
Atsu – Came on just after the hour mark for Kenedy. Saw a goal bound shot well blocked and won a dangerous free kick that very nearly lead to our third goal. He then put in on a plate for Jonjo Shelvey late on, only for him to sky over. A positive contribution from the Ghanaian, although we’re left regretting the fact that some of his attacking play didn’t lead to anything.
Hayden & Manquillo came on late on but weren’t on long enough to make much of an impact.