A rare hammering under Rafa, with Perez and both full-backs struggling – whilst Schar and Ki were the best of a bad bunch on in what turned out to be a miserable days at St James’ Park
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance and my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI – (4-4-1-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Schar, Fernandez, Manquillo– Ritchie Diame, Ki, Kenedy – Perez – Rondon
Dubravka – 5 – Couldn’t do much about Hernandez’s point blank finish, but may have hoped to do better with their two second half strikes. Did well to force Arnautovic wide when he was through in the first half, but there was the odd moment where a lack of communication was noticeable. Apart from the odd shot straight at him, he didn’t actually have all that much to do.
Yedlin – 4 – Really struggled with Anderson’s pace and intelligent movement – although this is a player worth double our club record transfer fee who he was dealing with. Crosses often hit first man in the first half; but a few were better in the second half in his defence. He has pace to burn, but his position
Schar – 7 – Our best defender today, despite us looking unusually unorganised as a whole. Read the play well, made some strong challenges and showed his class on the ball, looking so calm in possession. He picked out some brilliant passes and carried the ball out of defence confidently, taking up a Shelvey-esque quarter back role at times, however he was skinned by Anderson for their third.
Fernandez – 5 – Had a tough day against Arnautovic, letting the Austrian get in behind him a few times. Pretty solid, but not as convincing as he has been. We didn’t look nearly as assured at the back today.
Manquillo – 4 – He looked very much like a right-back playing at left-back, being too predictable in attack with him always having to cut in on his favoured foot. He often looks sluggish and limited both offensively and defensively. A poor mans Santon – and that’s being generous
Ritchie – 5 – Faded after a few decent early crosses in the box. Considering West Ham have been having problems at left-back, he and Yedlin never really got anything going . Looked tired and was taken off early in the second half.
Diame – 4 – Was brilliant at Burnley, but he struggled when receiving the ball in tight spaces, losing it a few too many times in dangerous areas. Worked hard and didn’t shirk his responsibilities, but quality was really lacking; and he didn’t manage nearly as many tackles today.
Ki – 7 – Did pretty well today whilst so many others around him struggled. Looked after the ball very well and tried to get us on the front foot, however so often had few options and a lack of movement ahead of him. Some decent set piece deliveries and showed a good range of passing, being a real safe pair of hands on the ball.
Kenedy – 4 – Struggled to really get going today, with few things coming off. Some heavy touches, a dragged shot and didn’t manage to get many meaningful balls into the box. That said, I’d rather see him playing than Atsu..
Perez – 3 – Had a real off day; and it’s not the first time we’ve said that this season unfortunately. Missed several big chances and was very wasteful. He’s at his best when he does things without thinking, but his final product is unreliable more often than not, with him often looking fat too lightweight and uncommitted when ‘challenging’ for the ball.
Rondon – 6 – Generally held the ball up pretty well given the lack of support, giving the two West Ham CB’s something to think about physically. Had two moments where he looked destined to score if it wasn’t for two brilliant last ditch tackles, although he should’ve done better with one header from a corner. Made some decent runs and ran himself into the ground, but will be frustrated not to have scored today.
Atsu – 4 – Brought on for Ritchie with 35 minutes left to play and despite up against an ageing Zabaleta (who was on a booking), he caused him so few problems and never really got himself wide to have a run at him. I’d rather see Murphy play given how little Atsu continues to offer whenever he comes on.
Shelvey – 4 – Didn’t do much at all. A few nice clipped passes in behind, but gave the ball away more in twenty minutes than Ki did all day and committed a few cheap fouls.
Joselu – N/A – Wasn’t really on long enough to make an impact, with the game dead during the 10 minutes he was on the pitch.