A completely uninspiring display from Steve Bruce’s side in this one as Aston Villa strolled to a 2-0 victory at Villa Park.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with our marks out of 10:
Dubravka – 6 – Our best player tonight arguably, not that it took much. He couldn’t do anything about the two goals, but made superb stops to deny Douglas Luiz and Wesley
Yedlin – 3 – Gifted Villa their opener, with his needless push on Grealish giving Hourihane the perfect chance to make it 1-0 from the edge of the box…and he did. Didn’t get close to Grealish all night.
Fernandez – 4 – His rash tackle on Grealish lead to the free-kick that created Villa’s second. Very nearly scored to make it 2-1, but saw his header tipped over by Heaton.
Clark – 4 – Struggled with Wesley’s power and failed to be that commanding presence in the middle of our back five. By no means our worst player tonight, but we missed Lascelles’ leadership and power.
Dummett – 3 – Uncharacteristically poor from him in this one. He made the odd strong challenge or key clearance, but was guilty of ball watching and more than one occasion – one of which lead to Villa’s second. with him totally switching off as El Ghazi nipped in behind him to make it 2-0.
Willems – 5 – Tried to get things going down our left, but struggled to link up with Saint-Maximin this time around. Had a tough against a marauding Guilbert.
Hayden – 4 – Snapped into tackles early on and won his fair share, but he never got into the game and was chasing shadows in midfield for most of it. Pretty ineffective both on and off the ball here.
Shelvey – 5 – Was overrun by a slick and lively Villa midfield, but was one of the only outfield NUFC players to show the odd glimpse of quality tonight, whipping in a few dangerous corners and pinging a few 60-yard passes out into wide areas.
Almiron – 2 – He’d been much better in our last two, but his performance was indefensible tonight sadly. Looked lost whenever he got the ball in the final third, showed zero composure, ran offside a few too many times and went into his shell as soon as he got himself into a good position.
Saint-Maximin – 6 – Very little actually came off for him this time around, but he was the only bright spark in an attack that looked like it had never played together. Full of running and tried to make things happen, forcing one or two smart saves out of Tom Heaton.
Joelinton – 2 – The lack of service or support up to him was back once again tonight, but he was worryingly bad in most of what he did. Erratic shots, weak hold up play and displayed the quality of a £4m player, not a £40m one.
Carroll – Flung himself at everything and won a few flick ons, but, aside from one clever touch and shot, he looked very rusty.
Gayle – I can barely remember him touching the ball. He’s come on as a substitute three times this season, but our lack of possession or creativity has left him looking totally ineffective whenever he plays.
Atsu – Ran at them more than Almiron, but not much came off.