After Sunday’s 1-2 defeat to Chelsea, we’ve taken a look at some of the positives and negatives to take from the game.
Starting with the plus points, here’s a few observations now the dust has settled:
- We coped without Lascelles – Yes we played 5 at the back, but we looked strong defensively and managed very well at the back despite both he and Lejeune being missing.
- Fernandez and Schar impressed – Both made their first starts in the league and both fitted in very well. Fernandez was vocal and very impressive, whilst Schar didn’t look out of place at all considering he was thrown in at the deep end against a top Chelsea side on his Premier League debut.
- Rondon showed glimpses – He had very little to work work with and was often so isolated, but he made some good runs, gave us a target to hit up top and was a nuisance for the Chelsea defence. He’ll only get better too..
- Joselu scores again! – He played well in our opening day defeat to Spurs and scored another against Chelsea, making it two goals in two starts with a powerful front post header. He’s not the answer, but he works hard and will only benefit from the confidence he’ll have got from these two early goals. He’s already scored half the amount he managed all season in 2017/18.
- Too defensive? – Some are struggling to accept the fact we had just 18% of the ball, barely got out of our own half and played five at the back so early in the season at home. In reality we were just five minutes away from a hard earned point, but we must surely show more desire to get forward when we play Arsenal in a few weeks.
- Lascelles and Shelvey injured – Both are key players and the latter was certainly missed, with us clearly lacking that forward thinking creativity without Jonjo. Let’s hope neither are out for long.
- Fans divided? – Some totally back Benitez’s approach and realise that it very nearly got us a point despite it being horrible to watch, but others weren’t happy with what they saw and felt embarrassed by our negative tactics.