Don’t get me wrong folks, yesterday’s result was hard to take. No one would be happy with a draw after being two up with 10 to play – however there’s still some positives to take.
Here’s five plus points that we can take from despite it ending in a disappointing 2-2 draw:
Dubravka looks the part
We were all hoping his debut heroics against Man Utd wasn’t just a one off and his assured display yesterday suggested to me that they definitely weren’t. He made a few smart reflex saves, showed his athleticism and safe pair of hands from crosses, was constantly communicating with the defence, looked quick off his line and confident with the ball at his feet.
The big moment Dwight Gayle needed
He’s looked woefully short on confidence in front of goal over the last few months, but bagging a brace at Bournemouth with give him the personal lift he needed. He was much better against Man Utd in fairness, but its goals strikers live and die by and those two yesterday will do him the world of good. It’s good news for NUFC to see Gayle scoring again – especially when we’ll be without Slimani for another two weeks!
Lascelles & Lejeune look a strong partnership moving forward
They’ll be so frustrated to see us concede two in the last 10, however they dealt with absolutely everything prior to the teams’ 10 minute collapse at the death. They look like our best centre-back pairing, offering a nice balance of brawn and brains, so I’m confident they’ll be big for us between now and the end of the season.
Ritchie looked more like his old self
He by no means blew Bournemouth away, but you could see Ritchie had more confidence and a spring in his step following his goal against Man Utd 2 weeks ago. He was sharper on the ball, more involved in the game & laid on the assist for Gayle’s opener. Having last season’s player of the season back to their best would be a huge boost between now and the end of the season, so it was good to see Ritchie looking full of beans for the second week running.
We’d have bitten your hand off for 4 points against Man Utd & Bournemouth
A win yesterday would’ve been massive and to draw from 2-0 up is bitterly disappointing, however we’d have been delighted if we drew at home to Man Utd and won at Bournemouth. This result may effect momentum (especially the nature of it), but it’s still 4 points across two tough fixtures. Providing we learn from yesterday’s mistakes, there’s plenty positives to take from our last two results (& a very decent point haul).
This may feel like a setback, but let’s remember that we’re unbeaten in 8 of our last 10 games. We’re going to be ok if we can keep this up.