Another disappointing defeat that sends us into the international break on a bit of a downer, with Steve Cook’s late header giving Bournemouth a 1-0 win.
Here’s our thoughts and marks out of 10 from the 1-0 defeat at St James’:
Elliot – 7 – Tipped over the bar well to deny Wilson in the first half and kept us in the game in the second – couldn’t do much about their winner.
Yedlin – 5 – A quiet game from the usually explosive right-back. Didn’t manage to get forward
Lascelles – 6 – No nonsense and a threat from set pieces up until he was forced off early in the second half. He left SJP on crutches after picking up what looked like an ankle injury sustained in the first half – but hopefully that is just a precaution.
Lejeune – 7* – Our best player for me. Looks a very good reader of the game and more then capable on the ball. Took the odd risk which nearly cost us, but generally had the better of the two Bournemouth strikers.
Manquillo – 5 – Just about recovered to cope with King & Wilson’s pace on the break the odd time, but struggled to contain them in general, with a few too many fouls. As a right footer, you could tell he isn’t as comfortable going forward down the left, struggling to put together flowing moves with Atsu and so often cutting inside.
Hayden – 5 – Pressed well in the first half, nicking the ball of Bournemouth midfielder’s on a few occasions, but didn’t have enough impact on the game overall. Didn’t look too comfortable when he picked it up in the final third – but he’s a spoiler not a creator and isn’t as good offensively as Merino is. The Spaniard will be missed by the looks of things.
Shelvey – 6.5 – He was wasteful on occasion – as we come to expect with his forward-passing style – but he was positive in his approach, looking to get the ball out wide into space, up to Joselu or in behind for Gayle. Pressed well in the first half but tired considerably as Bournemouth got in behind our midfield too often in the second.
Ritchie – 6 – Saw a superb edge of the box effort hit the inside of the post. Was much more like the Ritchie we know in the first half, but faded in the second as they grew into the game.
Atsu – 6 – Had the beating of Francis and often looked our most dangerous attacker but needs to work on his final ball and decision making.
Gayle – 6.5 – Offered more than Perez has recently and looked sharp in the first half. He gave Joselu something to work with and fought for every ball, but looked isolated in the second half. His ‘offside’ goal in the first half looked like it should’ve stood!
Joselu – 5 – Linked up better with Gayle than he has done with Perez in the first half, but looked a player badly short on confidence. Scuffed a very decent chance wide and couldn’t impose himself onto the game in the second half. Can’t fault his effort, but his final ball is severely lacking at the minute.
Clark (for Lascelles, 55th min) – Dealt with the pressure Bournemouth piled on us fairly well, dealing with one corner superbly with a vital back post header. Might be needed now, with Lascelles leaving SJP on crutches today.
Perez (for Joselu, 68th min) – Didn’t have much to feed off, but he didn’t contribute much at all. Him getting in the way of Gayle after the striker latched onto a poor back-pass summed up his ‘impact’ on the game.
Murphy (for Atsy, 80th min) – Hate to say it, but he offered absolutely nothing once again. We were on the back foot when he came on, but he looks seriously short on confidence or ideas. Bit concerning.