Our third home game of the season and our third 2-1 defeat, with us falling flat in the second half after a decent start to the game.
After watching the full 90 from the Gallowgate, here’s my thoughts on each player’s performance and my marks out of 10.
NUFC XI – (4-2-3-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett – Diame, Hayden– Ritchie, Perez, Murphy – Joselu.
Dubravka – 5 – Got a hand to Ozil’s shot but was wrong-footed. Wasn’t much he could do about Xhaka’s superb free kick. His kicking was decent again; even if he does look a little too relaxed for his own good when being closed down! Arsenal only had two shots on target all game so I don’t think he made a single save in the end.
Yedlin – 6 – Put in some decent crosses and kept Aubameyang relatively quiet in the first half. He can be guilty of being caught out of position but his pace and link up with Ritchie is one of our few outlets at the other end.
Lascelles – 6 – Did a solid job before coming off at half-time with a reported twisted ankle. Won a lot in the air and read the game well. Hopefully his injury is minor, with him and Fernandez having the makings of a very solid partnership. We didn’t look nearly as strong at the back without him in the second half.
Fernandez – 8 – Comfortably the best player in black and white today. Made some great challenges, looked calm and composed on the ball and put in a superb cross for Clark’s late goal. He’s really impressed me in the last few weeks. Aside from him giving away the foul for Xhaka’s free kick goal, I couldn’t fault him.
Dummett – 6 – Put in a solid shift, doing especially well in the first half to block Bellerin’s low crosses on the overlap. It wasn’t pretty but he was no nonsense and defended pretty well – even if he didn’t always manage to support Murphy at the other end.
Diame – 5 – Got stuck in and was winning the midfield battle in the first half, however his passing was very mixed, with him offering very little in the second half. We need him back to his best and Shelvey back in the team ASAP.
Hayden – 4 – Tired in the second half and didn’t offer enough both on or off the ball in the end. Won plenty headers and did ok in the first half but needed to be replaced by Shelvey as we looked to get back into the game.
Ritchie – 6.5 – Put in several brilliant crosses in the first half and was one of our few creative threats. There was a few players whose effort levels could be questioned today, but he wasn’t one of them. Faded in the second half but was one of our better players today.
Perez – 4 – Made some really good runs early one but didn’t offer nearly enough in the end. Often got the ball caught under his feet and his decision making was so frustrating at times. Needs to get his head up and start doing the simple things much better.
Murphy – 5 – He lacks composure and still looks raw, but did show his pace and had a go in the first half, causing Bellerin a few problems. Another player who faded in the second half, however.
Joselu – 4 – Didn’t win that much in the air against Mustafi considering he was the bigger man. Had a good chance at the back post but his header was straight at Cech. Given all the crosses we put into the box in the first half, Rondon must’ve been wishing he was on.
Clark – 5 – Didn’t convince me at all defensively but did get on the scoresheet with a header late on.
Kenedy – 3 – Very poor. Both his corners hit the first man and he looked quite lethargic, losing the ball in bad areas on a few occasions late on.
Muto – N/A – Hard to give a rating, with him playing just 10 minutes, but he looked after the ball better than Perez did. Needs to be given more of a run out if we’re expecting him to find form and make a full impact.