A third straight defeat for NUFC, with goals from Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray proving too much for us despite our attempt at a second half comeback.
Afterwatching the full 90, here’s some thoughts on each player’s performance and my marks out of 10.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Murphy, Perez, Kenedy – Gayle:
Dubravka – 8 – Misread the flight of Pereyra’s brilliant ball for Gray’s goal to make it 2-0, but aside from that he was superb. Made a big one on one save early to keep the score at 1-0 and made an outstanding double save to deny Deeney from the spot and again from the rebound (which would’ve made it 3-0). Was quick off his line and positive and commanding from crosses.
Manquillo – 5 – Put in a good cross to set up Perez’s goal but switched off defensively a few too many times. Looks more confident than Yedlin tends to on the ball and put in some deliveries, but didn’t really get close enough to Pereyra at the other end. Promising at one end, poor at the other.
Lascelles – 5.5 – Commanding in the air, winning the vast majority of long balls or crosses put into our own box. Was a little too forceful at times, but mopped up well second half after a difficult first 45.
Lejeune – 5 – Allowed himself to get dragged out of defence in the build up to Watford’s first goal and could have done a little better to stop the cross for their second. Did ok, but wasn’t as calm and composed as usual.
Dummett – 4 – Was uncharacteristically poor for the second game in a row, giving away a needless penalty and failing to clear his lines for their opener. He’s been brilliant in 2018, but, like most of our team, he’s switched off over the past few weeks.
Diame – 6 – Wasn’t quite as all action and effective as he has been over the last few months, but was still the man leading the press and getting stuck in as much as anyone in midfield. Spread some nice passes out wide, but had some sloppy moments too.
Shelvey – 8* – The only outfield player who was ‘at it’ for us today. Played several cutting cross-field passes and was one of very few who showed genuine moments of quality throughout. Was always looking to put Gayle and Perez in behind with ball over the top and regularly caused problem whenever Watford allowed him too much time on the ball. Much better from Jonjo after a poor display last weekend.
Murphy – 3 – He’s naturally going to be rusty and short on confidence after playing so little since the turn of the year, but I’m struggling to remember a single thing he did well. Misplaced some simple passes, was easily dispossessed and had very little joy whenever he tried to have a run at his man. Hauled off by Rafa on the 52nd minute mark. Needs loaning out this summer?
Perez – 7 – Took his goal superbly with a brilliant first time finish with the outside of his foot and was much better in the second half, but he still flatters to deceive a little too often considering he’s mean to be our ‘creative force’ from the number 10 position. He’s persistent and caused them problems in the second half, but his final ball in the final third continues to let him down. making him out top scoring in the league this season on six,
Kenedy – 5 – Was on the fringes of everything today. Final ball was uncharacteristically poor and he didn’t really make any impact on the game – even when we were pushing late on. On the plus side, he got back well on the cover a few times.
Gayle – 4 – Same old Gayle really. Worked hard and made some decent runs but lacked quality on the ball and never looked like scoring. Pretty frustrating. Misplaced some pretty simple passes in good areas and was chasing shadows in the main.
Yedlin – 6 – Had a lot of joy down the right late on. Deuloefu failed to pick him up on several occasions and he very nearly set up our equaliser after a smart cut back for Merino.
Ritchie – 6 – Another who came on and gave us a lift down the right hand side. He and Yedlin had Holebas outnumbered and also put some decent deliveries into the box. Gave us some urgency and energy.
Merino – N/A – Not on long enough to earn a rating or make any major impact, but was positive on the ball and almost scored, having his shot well blocked from Yedlin’s cut-back.