It was another game where we didn’t really look like scoring, but a strong defensive display and a big effort got us a hard earned point – even if it wasn’t much fun to watch.
After watching the full 90, here’s my thoughts on each player’s performance and my marks out of 10.
NUFC XI – (4-4-1-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Dummett – Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy – Perez – Rondon.
Dubravka – 8 – Confident from crosses and was reliable when any awkward shots were fired into him, showing very good hands to hold the ball or palm it to safety.
Yedlin – 8 – Did a very good job to key Zaha quiet. He was booked in the first half, which made it difficult, but he recovered very well and stayed switched on throughout.
Lascelles – 9 – Rock solid. Won just about everything in the air, made some brilliant blocks and put in a few strong challenges when covering for Yedlin to keep Zaha at bay. Had two good decent chances at the other end which he could’ve done better with but was absolutely brilliant at the back.
Fernandez – 9* – My man of the match. Read the play superbly, time most of his tackles to perfection and played some incisive forward passes too – although he did misplace a few into second half. He and Lascelles are showing the makings of a very solid pairing, with him looking like one of our best bits of business this summer at present. Another classy display.
Dummett – 7.5 – Made some great recovery challenges to stop Townsend in the first half. Plenty clearances and also did well when Zaha switched wings towards the end of the second half. A solid display.
Ritchie – 6 – Put in some decent deliveries from corners and worked hard as ever, but was forced to spend most of his time defending in his own half than getting at Van Anholt at the other end. Helped keep Zaha quiet.
Diame – 6.5 – Got in their faces and turned over possession quite a few times, also clearing quite a few loose balls in the box. Was a little sloppy on the ball, but put in a solid shift for the team.
Shelvey – 7 – Our best offensive player. Our lack of attacking intent meant he wasn’t given many outlets to hit, but he showed some quality touches and looked after the ball much better than most. Great to have him back.
Kenedy – 5 – Made the odd decent driving run forward but his final ball was lacking more often than not. Looks short of confidence. Needs to retain the ball better as some of his skills have became a little predictable.
Perez – 4 – Really poor. Struggled to keep a hold of the ball and was very wasteful. Had our best chance of the game in the first half but his shot was very tame. He needs to look after the ball so much better and toughen up.
Rondon – 5 – Was forced to feed off scraps before being withdrawn at the break with a ‘tight quad’. Won a few flick ons but that was about it. We need to get more support up to him but he needs to be better.
Joselu – 6 – I was glad to see Rondon start, but he offered more than the Venezuelan in his defence. Had the odd effort on goal but didn’t get much support.
Atsu – 5 – Didn’t make any real impact when coming on for the final 15 minutes. Surprised to see him named on the bench ahead of Murphy.
Muto – 6 – I felt like he did more in 10 minutes than Perez did in 80. He didn’t see much of the ball but he ran with it well on a few occasions, made a few decent runs and looked quite lively. Deserves a start soon?
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