A hard earned draw at Goodison tonight, with the usual suspects Dubravka and Fernandez performing, whilst Schar, Rondon and Atsu all put in very decent performances in what turned out to be a solid all-round effort from the lads.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance and my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI – (5-2-2-1): Dubravka – Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Manquillo – Diame, Ki – Atsu, Murphy – Rondon
Dubravka – 8 – Commanded his box, was a safe pair of hands throughout and pulled of an incredible point blank save to deny Tosun what looked like a certain tap in.
Yedlin – 6 – Struggled to cope with the double-threat of Richarlison and Digne down Everton’s left in the first half but improved in the second half. Made the odd decent burst forward but his positioning does hamper him at times; despite his impressive pace and athleticism.
Schar – 7.5 – Made some important interceptions and read the play well, also pinging some brilliant cross-field balls into good areas to set us off on rare attacks. Over committed at times but he looks a calm defender and some ball player.
Lascelles – 7 – Won plenty in the air, although he did look a little off the pace and slow to react at times. That said, his presence at the back was big late on when they were swinging balls into the box with both 6ft 4′ centre-backs up. Will have been frustrated that he didn’t deal with the ball that led to Richarlison’s tap in.
Fernandez – 8 – Very solid. He was poor against West Ham over the weekend but normal service was resumed here, with him putting in one of the best blocks you’ll see this season to deny Sigurdsson’s goal bound shot.
Manquillo – 6 – Wasteful possession (often lobbing it long to no one) and not always the most convincing when it came to defending, but like Yedlin he did settle in the second half. Carried the ball forward well on occasion, but his final ball is often questionable.
Diame – 6 – Got around them and was quick to close down, but looked a little limited once he picked up a booking in the second half. Far from glamorous but did a solid job.
Ki – 6 – One of few calm on ball when it got tight. Put in some great set piece deliveries and didn’t shirk his defensive responsibilities. It was said earlier in the season that Rafa feared he wasn’t mobile enough, but he’s getting around the pitch very well at the moment!
Atsu – 7 – A few much needed bursts forward down their right in the first half and a great ball into the box in the second half which Schar or Fernandez should’ve done MUCH better with. He frustrated at times, but he won a few fouls and was more of a nuisance on the counter then I expected him to be. Could and should have scored late on, but thought he was much better than he has been.
Murphy – 6 – Very mixed. Some outstanding work for Rondon’s goal, taking on Coleman and whipping in a perfect low cross, but aside from that he didn’t get too much joy. Wasn’t involved as much as Atsu and lacked confidence and convinction at times. If it wasn’t for his vital assist, he’d have got a much lower mark.
Rondon – 7 – Took his goal very well, with a first time strike that completely wrong footing Pickford. Held up the ball pretty well considering how little support he received at times. First touch was mixed, but definitely gives us that power and a focal point we’ve been missing.
Joselu – 5 – Doesn’t offer that same presence Rondon does, with us often failing to get the ball forward as much when he’s on.
Perez – 6 – Slipped a lovely ball into Atsu which could and should have won us the game late on.