Man City had too much for us tonight, beating us 3-1 at the Etihad, however it’s fair to say we didn’t disgrace ourselves.
Here’s some thoughts on each player’s performance and our marks out of 10 for each.
NUFC XI – (5-4-1): Darlow – Manquillo, Hayden, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Murphy, Shelvey, Diame, Atsu – Joselu
Darlow – 7 – Pulled off a solid stop to deny De Bruyne’s low shot in the first half & a brilliant close-range save to keep Sterling out in the second, palming it onto the post. Also reacted quickly to collect some of their attempted balls in behind, taking some much needed pressure off defence.
Manquillo – 4 – Did ok in the early exchanges given how often City have down his side, but it went downhill from there. Gave De Bruyne far too much space to cross for Aguero’s goal and clumsily brought down Sterling for the penalty & their second. Two costly errors on a difficult day for the Spaniard.
Hayden – 7.5 – A really bright performance at CB after several below par displays in centre midfield this season.H read the play very well, putting in several timely interceptions, including one goal saving challenge to cut out a dangerous ball across the goal mouth in the second half. Fair play to him.
Lascelles – 7 – Cut out several crosses into the box and stayed switched on throughout to martial the NUFC back line. A solid display, yet the is the FIRST time this season we’ve conceded more than two this season when he’s started – this was away to City, mind!
Clark – 7 – Failed to track Aguero’s run for their opening goal, but made up for that with a brilliant defence splitting pass to set Murphy in behind for our goal.
Dummett– 8* – Stuck to his task superbly well to deny Sterling & cover for the overloaded centre halves. Put in several brilliantly timed blocks and didn’t allow City to have much joy at all down their right. It was a resolute defensive display from us today (despite conceding three), and he was probably the pick of our back-line.
Murphy – 8 – Was cheap in possession during a difficult first half, but he was outstanding in the second. Took his goal superbly and was the one player who was willing to run at City defenders and make something happen.
Shelvey– 6 – Some decent forward passes in an attempt to get us higher up the pitch, including a great outside of the foot cross which Gayle should’ve converted late on. Kept going for the full 90 and showed better discipline, but sometimes didn’t get close enough to De Bruyne and struggled to keep up with play when they sprung counters (after we forged a rare attack).
Diame – 7 – Generally spent the game pressing & taking up decent defensive positions, but was the man who instigated one of our best moments of the game in the second half, forcing a good stop from Ederson after a brilliant marauding run. He kept going and got about the pitch well.
Atsu – 5 – Failed to really get going when there was the odd chance to carry us forward on the counter. Doubled up with Dummett well to keep Sterling & Walker quiet, but was often sloppy on the ball and cheap in possession.
Joselu – 4 – He was often very isolated up top but didn’t do nearly enough with the scraps he was given. Defended corners well, but won a surprisingly low amount of flicks ons from long balls. Had a great chance to play in Atsu in a rare chance on the break but took too long & saw his attempted through ball intercepted by Otamendi.
Yedlin – Gave us a better attacking option than Manquillo, with his pace giving us a decent out ball down the right. Came across well to deny Sane a few times, but was unable to stop him laying on a sublime assist for Aguero’s third.
Perez – Battled away and tried to unsettle them when we moved higher up the pitch late on.
Gayle – Should’ve scored late on with his head but mistimed his jump badly.