Another bad day at the office for NUFC, with Matt Phillips early goal being enough to give the bottom of the table Baggies a second half a 1-0 win at St James’ Park.
After just watching the full 90 from the Gallowgate, here’s some thoughts on each player’s performance and my marks out of 10.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett – Diame, Shelvey – Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy – Gayle:
Dubravka – 5 – Didn’t have much to do and couldn’t do much about Phillips emphatic finish. Parried Rodriguez’s first half shot into a dangerous area which could’ve been costly.
Yedlin – 4 – Really poor. Several misplaced passes (he wasn’t the only one!) and poor touches. Final ball and hesitance to pull the ball into the box was also frustrating. A bad day at the office for the American and a reminder that he really does lack quality on the ball despite his impressive athleticism.
Lascelles – 5 – Had a tough time dealing with the physicality and aerial presence of Rondon. Didn’t look all that comfortable on the ball and gave away a few needless free kicks. Not the worst display in the world, but poor based on the high standards he’s set this season.
Dummett – 4 – Probably his poorest game of the season. Got caught for their goal, with him failing to track Phillips’ run in behind. He’s been solid as a rock in general this season, but today he was caught out positionally a few too many times.
Diame – 7* – Even he had the odd sloppy moment (a player whose barely put a foot wrong since the turn of the year), but he was just about the only NUFC player getting his foot in and putting West Brom under pressure. Played some nice cross-field passes and was one of very few who made a real effort to push us on in the second half, carrying the ball forward well. The best NUFC performer (from a bad bunch) for the second time this week.
Shelvey – 4 – He was really sloppy today. Too many passes hit in hope not expectation. Shades of the old Jonjo Shelvey, looking sluggish and a bit too wasteful on the ball. After two bad games in a week, he’ll need to up it if he wants to make that plane to Russia!
Ritchie – 6 – Most seemed like they were thinking about their summer holidays, but I don’t think you could accuse Ritchie of being one of them. Not much came off for him, but he was persistent.
Perez – 5 – Showed some decent touches and played some nice first time passes (see clever ball into Kenedy) in the first half when we were trying to put some flowing attacks together, but had just as many frustrating moments which we now come to expect from the Spaniard. Has a tendency to get the ball caught under his feet and fall over. Went missing in the second half.
Kenedy – 6 – Got stuck in and very nearly brought us level in the first half, hitting the post after a clever one-two with Perez. Wasn’t at his sparkling best on his last game at St James’ Park (can’t play vs Chelsea in 2 weeks), but looked as likely anyone today.
Gayle – 4 – Ineffective. Never really got into the game and was a passenger in the second half prior to being replaced by Slimani. He makes decent runs and works hard, but he’s not offering nearly enough of a threat up top.
Murphy – Aside from one decent cross that Joselu HAD to score from, he did very very little during his half an hour on the pitch. Looked under confident and uncomfortable on the ball.
Slimani – Disappointing. His presence in the air meant he could’ve actually made a decent impact in the first half (where we often go it wide and had plenty opportunities to get the ball into the box), but he came on at a time the whole team was really struggling to put two or three passes together. That being said, his first touch was off and he could’ve been sent off with an alleged kick out at Dawson. You could see he’s a handful, making some good runs and winning a few decent flick ons in the box, but he did little to impress and may even be retrospectively banned for 3 games now..
Joselu – Missed a sitter with his head late on. For a striker, he looks unbelievably uncomfortable in front of goal.