It started so well, with Gayle giving us a lead on 12 minutes, however it was all too similar to the 4-1 defeat at Man Utd in the end, with an inspired Eden Hazard picking us apart at Stamford Bridge.
Here’s our thoughts and marks out of 10 following today’s 3-1 defeat at Chelsea..
NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1) – Darlow – Mbemba, Lejeune – Manquillo, Diame, Merino, Ritchie – Murphy, Perez – Gayle.
Darlow – 7*– Made himself big on several occasions to deny Hazard in one-on-one situations. A few decent takes from crosses – couldn’t do a great deal about the goals but it could’ve been a few more than three without him today.
Mbemba – 5 – Looks like he could and should have done much better in front of Morata for their second – was he pushed, or was he just not strong enough? Some important interceptions and the odd positive foray forward.
Lejeune – 4 – Looked a little bit like the old Coloccini (not the good one, the one that struggled to cope with the pace of the Premier League). I’ve generally liked the look of him since he signed over the summer, but he tried to be a bit too clever in tackle & was caught out with a few balls in behind. He looked far more comfortable alongside Lascelles.
Diame – 4 – He tried to press and get into them in an end to end first half, but was very sloppy on the ball and didn’t offer enough overall. He doesn’t work in a 2-man central midfield & we’ve lost all three he’s started this season. Surprised Rafa started him today.
Merino – 5 – Had the odd nice moments, with a silky turn and quick forward pass always in his locker, but arguably did more bad than he did good. Was caught out on the ball on several occasions in bad areas. Looks rusty.
Ritchie – 3 – He’s so often been our go-to guy but he made two costly errors in his left-wing back role today. Head straight to Moses to set up their second goal and recklessly and unnecessarily brought down Moses to give them a penalty for 3-1. For a player whose been known to be so switched on at both ends, he looked badly off the pace today and really cost us.
Murphy – 6.5 – Flattered to deceive at times, but was arguably our most promising attacker once again. Ran at them and showed a real turn of pace. Needs to work on final ball, but the signs are better after a poor start to his NUFC career. Kept going all 90.
Perez – 5.5 – Some nice moments from him in the first half, with him also pressing well to unsettle a nervy looking Chelsea back-line. Faded badly in the second half mind.
Gayle– 6 – Was alive and alert to put us 1-0 early on and buzzed about as best he could up top. Was left quite isolated in the second however and didn’t see much of it.
Shelvey, Hayden and Yedlin all came on, but didn’t do enough for us to give a proper rating.