A frustrating result in the end, with a late Watford goal cancelling out Rondon’s first half opener – but a decent point nonetheless.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance and my marks out of 10:
NUFC XI – (3-4-2-1): Dubravka (7)– Fernandez (6), Lascelles (6), Dummett (7.5) – Yedlin (6), Hayden (6), Diame (7.5), Ritchie (8) – Perez (6), Atsu (8), Rondon (9).
Dubravka – 7 – Made a good stop early on with his feet to deny a Deulofeu one on one. Was quick off his line to cut out any balls in and around his six-yard box although did get lucky with one punch.
Fernandez – 6 – Struggled with Success’ power and athleticism early on, but did put in a huge block to deny what could’ve easily been their equaliser before the break. Did a solid job before being taken off with a hip injury at half time.
Lascelles – 6 – Didn’t notice him a great deal today which is probably a good thing given he’s been very noticeable for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks. Didn’t look too comfortable in a back three early on (calling for offside on a few occasions when he was nowhere near the last man), however was pretty solid on the whole and better than he has been in recent games against Liverpool and Fulham.
Dummett – 7.5 – Our best defender today for me. Put in a great last ditch challenge late on to deny Pereyra, made several important clearances when the threw balls into the box and combined well with Ritchie to limit both Janmaat and Deulofeu down their right.
Yedlin – 6 – Seemed to keep Pereyra pretty quiet, but really struggled with Success’ power and fouled him a few too many times – with several tugs of the shirt seeing him booked in the end. Gave us a good outlet on the break going forward, although his final ball when he got in good positions wasn’t always the best.
Hayden – 6 – Looked under confident and very limited on the ball early on but grew into the game a little after our goal. A little over committed in the challenge at times (which sometimes left Diame exposed), but he didn’t do a bad job. Needs to do more though – especially in Ki’s absence.
Diame – 7.5 – Turned over the ball on countless occasions and looked more like the Mo we saw earlier in the year at times. Made some vital challenges and interceptions and was the one player looking to press and knick the ball off their midfielders in dangerous areas to set up a break away.
Ritchie – 8 – He was everywhere down our left today. Did very well to help out Dummett defensively and track runners trying to get in behind him, also playing a huge part in our goal with his cross into Rondon. Was involved in most of our good work going forward, chased absolutely every ball and worked tirelessly defensively too. The only criticism was the fact he and Dummett failed to stop Deulofeu’s cross that led to their late equaliser.
Perez– 6 – Played slightly wider than his usual number 10 role. Was very frustrating early on, seeming more interested in waving his arms about when things didn’t go his way, but he grew into the game and was involved in some good link up play in the second half. Really does need to toughen up and play to the whistle, mind.
Atsu – 8 – One of his best displays in a black and white shirt for me. He actually took players on and turned away from Watford players with ease on a few occasions – with him skipping past two and getting it out wide for Ritchie in the build up to Rondon’s goal. He often drifts out the game and lacks intensity, but he actually maintained his energy levels and involvement in this one. Much, much better.
Rondon – 9 – Outstanding all round performance from the big man. He took his goal emphatically from Ritchie’s cross hung up to the back post (and had two other ‘goals’ chalked off from marginal offside calls) but hold up play and work off the ball was just as important. He fought for every ball and made some great runs in behind and into the channels, coming short, going wide and looking to go in behind as well as being our one big target from crosses when we managed to get further up the pitch.
Schar – 6 – Dealt with several crosses into the box for most of the second half after coming on for the injured Fernandez at the break. Did a decent job, although struggled with Success’ power and gave away more than one free kick when trying to deal with him – one being a cynical challenge out wide that gave him yet another yellow card.
Shelvey – 5 – Came on for the last 15. A few decent knocks up to Rondon, but didn’t see too much of the ball and should’ve done better to track Doucoure’s run into the box for their goal.