That’s it then, another trophy-less season after a half-hearted performance at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea running out 3-0 winners today.
Here’s some thoughts on each player’s performance and our marks out of 10 for each.
NUFC XI – (5-3-1-1): Darlow – Manquillo, Mbemba, Lascelles, Clark, Haidara– Hayden, Saivet, Shelvey – Ritchie – Gayle
Darlow – 7* – Couldn’t do a great deal about their first their 3 goals. Made four or five decent stops and claimed well from corners in the second half. It says a lot when he was probably our best player despite conceding three.
Manquillo – 4 – Got into some good positions in the first half but poor final ball. Had a difficult time dealing with Alonso and Hazard (as you’d expect!).
Mbemba – 5 – Went to ground a little too often. Made the odd important challenge to stop Hazard early on but struggled in the main, hacking him down to put him in the book and give them a dangerous free kick. A little erratic in possession which isn’t like him, however he will be rusty after several weeks out the side.
Lascelles – 5 – Couldn’t do much about their goal as we were outnumbered at the back. Made the odd important interception in the box and did well to make the block for their second but couldn’t stop it from looping in. Not his best game, with a few unconvincing clearances, but not much he could do in general with the self inflicted nature of the goals conceded. Clark’s positioning often left him so exposed.
Clark – 3 – He was constantly caught too high up the pitch and in fout in behind.Didn’t get back quick enough to stop Batshuayi from tapping into an empty net for their first and struggled to recover for their second too (although it was Saivet who lost the ball in a bad area). He’s been better recently but was very poor today.
Haidara – 4 – Struggled to stop opposing wing back Zappacosta down their right, but did get forward well on the odd occasion, putting in a few superb whipped crosses into the box in the first half. Some decent moments but will be rightfully criticised for failing to track Batshuayi for their opening two goals. He was bound to be rusty, but you can’t excuse failure to track back.
Saivet – 3 – Generally looked off the pace and lost the ball in a bad area which directly let to Chelsea’s second and conceded the free-kick for their third. He’s never going to look razor sharp after so little football this season, but he didn’t do himself many favours today unfortunately.
Hayden – 4 – Struggled to get into it and was forced to backwards quite often. He tries to get stuck in but I’m not sure what he’s giving us from central midfield at the moment. He was very good at centre-back at City, but he’s perhaps another player short on confidence?
Shelvey- 6 – Tried to get us on the front foot with some sharp forward passes in the first half but didn’t have a great deal of options, with Ritchie and Gayle cutting pretty isolated figures up top. Had more efforts on goal than any other NUFC player and forced Caballero into two decent saved. Our best outfield player amongst a bad bunch today.
Ritchie – 5 – Busy in the early stages and pressed an edgy looking Chelsea defence, but his final ball was often poor (aside from one brilliant cross in for Joselu). Had chances to link up with Gayle in good areas but didn’t make the most of them. Didn’t have enough support, but
Gayle – 4 – Looks short on confidence and needs a goal badly, but never looked likely despite their shakiness at the back. Tried to get things going with Ritchie but they didn’t really combine well despite having some big openings. Had one decent run and shot but was never troubling Caballero.
Joselu, Murphy and Atsu came on in the last half an hour but it would be unfair to give any a rating. Al three were unable to make any impact with the game dead in the water at that stage.