A brilliant end to another rollercoaster season for Rafa and NUFC, with us ending the season in style thanks to goals from Shelvey, Perez, Schar and Rondon.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1): Dubravka (7.5) – Schar (8), Lascelles (8), Dummett (7) – Hayden (8), Diame (7) , Shelvey (9), Ritchie (8) –– Perez (8), Atsu (7) – Rondon (7) – SUBS – Muto (6), Fernandez (6), Kenedy (N/A)
Dubravka – 7 – Was a save pair of hands and quick off his line at crucial times, with him coming out to smother a dangerous pass slipped into Sessegnon in the first half. Didn’t have too much to do, with his defence protecting him brilliantly all afternoon, but he did deal with most things comfortably when called upon.
Schar – 8 – He stood up to just about everything Fulham threw at him and his towering header gave us a 0-3 lead and his 4th goal of the season. He gave the ball away in bad areas at times and didn’t always clear his lines convincingly, but his quality and confidence from the back still proved to be more of a help than a hinderance.
Lascelles – 8 – Dealt with Mitrovic well and made several huge blocks to deny Fulham. He was very poor against Liverpool, being at fault for a few of their goals, however the same could not be said. A strong and commanding defensive display and the driving force behind our well deserved clean sheet.
Dummett – 7 – Very steady once again. Won a few important headers up against Mitrovic and was typically no nonsense. Moved to right wing-back late on and enjoyed one burst up the pitch late on, almost getting a great assist after a perfect cut-back for Rondon.
Hayden – 8 –Filled in at right-wing back but was brilliant once again. Was sharp on the ball, quick into the tackle and made a few blocks to keep Fulham out. Came off to a standing ovation and rightly so after an absolutely outstanding 2019, playing out of his skin every week despite wanting a move away for personal reasons for a year now.
Diame – 7 – A solid performance, but it may be his last for the club. Plenty tackles and interceptions an in the middle, with his dirty work allowing Shelvey to shine. Several NUFC players outshined him, but he put in a strong display, proving once again that he can come in and do a job.
Shelvey – 9* – Scored an absolute stunner to give us an early lead and ran the show in midfield, helping us keep the ball with classy touches and create attacks with brilliant balls in behind. If that’s to be his last game for the club, it was an impressive send off, with him showing exactly what he’s capable of on his day. Man of the match for me.
Ritchie – 8 –A brilliant display once again from left-wing back. He not only assisted Shelvey and Schar’s goals with good balls into the box, his burst forward helped create our second, with his energy, intensity causing Fulham problems at both ends of the pitch.
Perez – 8 – Fulham struggled to contain him. He reacted quickly and was a fox in the box for his first goal (his 13th of the season and 10th of 2019) and also slipped in Rondon to set up our fourth. Another impressive display for our top scorer.
Atsu – 7 –His pace and energy caused them problems on the counter attack, with him also playing a big part in Perez’s goal, with Rico failing to hold his shot that Perez then tapped in. He’s had his critics, but he’s done a good job recently, performing well against Fulham and Liverpool.
Rondon – 7 – He could’ve had more than just the one today, with him wasting a few chances, but he plugged away and got his rewards late on, reacting first to the rebound and slipping a shot under Rico. He won plenty flick ons, made several good runs in behind and linked up nicely with Perez once again. When you compare him to Mitrovic today, you can see why Rafa signed for former and sold the Serbian, with his work rate, mobility and movement much better.
Muto – 6 – Did quite well. Carried the ball quite well at times and played the right passes. Nothing to write home about, but looked sharper than he did during his cameo against Brighton.
Fernandez – 6 – Solid. Slotted in late on and was steady as usual. He’s been unlucky this season – one of our top performers over the first half of the season who’s become a player we can always rely on when he’s needed.
Kenedy – Went on one driving run which saw him link up well with Rondon and very nearly grabbed an assist, with his whipped cross just inches away from the big Venezuelan. He wasn’t on long, but he looked brighter in this cameo than he has done in 90% of his appearances this season. A major case of too little too late ahead of his return to Chelsea.