Another awful display in London, with us failing to lay a glove on an out of sorts Palace side – who could’ve easily won by two or three.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with our marks out of 10:
Dubravka – 7 – Made two superb saves to deny Dann and Cahill early on and did well to keep it to 1 considering he faced 18 shots. Took one step in the wrong direction that cost him for Van Aanholt’s free kick, but was quick off his line and made several key stops to keep us in it, denying Ayew and Benteke more than once in each half.
Lazaro – 6 – His needless red card in the final 30 seconds will leave a sour taste in the mouths of many, but I thought he was one of our best outfield players today (not that it took much to do that today!). Gave as good as he got against Zaha and was one of few to show a bit of quality and urgency on the ball, making a few great runs that were too often ignored by his teammates. Some won’t agree (Lee Ryder gave him a 3), but I thought he did pretty well at both ends before his late red.
Fernandez – 5 – Wasn’t our worst best centre-back today, not that any can come away with any real credit. Read the play well on a few occasions, but was beaten in the air from a few early corners – leaving Dubvravka to save his blushes with a few brilliant saves.
Lascelles – 5 – Struggled with Benteke’s aerial prowess and made a few unconvincing half-clearances when we were under pressure early on. Kept on battling, but looked visibly frustrated with our lack our defensive resilience in a game where we were lucky to concede just one.
Schar – 4 – Looked casual, once again, as if his spell out of Bruce’s first team has left him a little disillusioned. Half hearted at times and reckless. Had a decent long range strike that forced Guiata into a decent save, but gave away the free kick that lead to their goal and looked well below his best.
Rose – 4 – Not impressed. Didn’t get forward nearly as effectively as Lazaro and looked sluggish and a little unfit. His time at Spurs (and in England’s first team) prove he’s got quality, but we’re yet to see any of that with us so far. Needs to get himself into better shape and look a little more interested, with Ritchie’s work rate and intensity visibly superior as soon as he came on with 20 minutes to play.
Bentaleb – 3 – I’ve defended the fact he hadn’t started a senior game since April 2019 before arriving on Tyneside last month, but he was way off it in more ways than one today. He’s clearly got quality, but his passing was wayward, he tried to do too much with the ball in dangerous areas, gave away cheap free kicks and got himself booked early on for petulantly kicking the ball away. Unless he seriously improves, I can’t see him keeping his place in the side when Shelvey’s fit.
S Longstaff – 5 – Was one of few players to show glimpses of quality in the first half, pinging a few lovely passes to find Saint-Maximin in space or put Joelinton in behind, but he fizzled out of the game late on and wanted too much time on the ball when he got it in the final third. Blazed one cross high and wide at one point, which summed up our lack of quality in key moments here.
Almiron – 5 – Tried his best to get in behind and made a few good runs – one of which was criminally ignored by Joelinton – but didn’t do enough when he got the ball. Worked hard defensively, yet his efforts at the other end all seems to be in vain right now. He scored his first league goal for the club against Palace earlier this season, but didn’t muster one shot today.
Saint-Maximin – 6 – The Frenchman was quiet in large parts, with us struggling to get him into the game, yet he was still our most dangerous outlet and the one player who looked like he could make something happen when he got it. He had the beating of Ward, but his crossed were very mixed – with his final ball often hit more in hope than expectation.
Joelinton – 4 – Can’t fault his effort levels, with him tracking back well and putting himself about, but he failed to do the basics well enough once again today. Too many times he failed to hold up the ball when we needed him to and he missed one great chance to play Almiron in, taking too long to find his darting run after he broke free down their left in the first half. He’s not being used right and Bruce is doing absolutely nothing to aid his development, but he didn’t look anything like a £40m player once again today.
Gayle – 5 – Worked hard and tried to offer something different in the final 20 minutes, but we really struggled to get the ball to him. Sadly, that’s more down to the woeful tactics and final ball, not his lack of effort to get into good areas.
Ritchie – 5 – Plenty effort and drive, but very little came off due to the lack of movement or options ahead of him. Committed a few cynical fouls as he was done for pace was Palace countered.