A clean sheet and an extra point on the board after three straight defeats, but one of the worst games you are likely to have watched this season in what was a bore draw at Brighton.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my mark out of 10:
Dubravka – 8* – It says a lot about the game that he didn’t have a HUGE amount to do yet was still our man of the match for me. Made a great early save to deny Trossard and tipped over brilliantly to stop a second half thunderbolt from Webster, also taking the pressure off throughout to claim the odd awkward high ball with no fuss. Good to see him bounce back with a clean sheet and solid display after he conceded a few cheap goals in our last few defeats.
Krafth – 6.5 – Made a slightly shaky start, conceding an avoidable corner he should’ve cleared comfortably, but responded fairly well with a combative display in an unfamiliar centre-back role. Got stuck in, battling on through a heavy knock to his ankle, and did a decent job in the end after struggling badly in the middle vs Spurs.
Fernandez – 7 – A much more solid display from the Argentine after a trio of poor performances and uncharacteristic mistakes in recent defeats against Man City, Watford and Spurs. He marshalled the defence well in between Krafth and Rose and, even though Brighton didn’t exactly throw much at us, he didn’t really put a foot wrong.
Rose – 6 – I still can’t help but feel he looks heavy and a shadow of the player we’ve often seen shine for Spurs, however he did to a steady job as a left-sided centre-back here. Dived into a few tackles and was booked for a late foul in the second half, but was committed throughout and helped us to a rare clean sheet on the road.
Manquillo – 6 – Struggled to make any inroads in attack from a right wing-back berth, but defended well enough to keep Brighton at bay down his side and protect Krafth.
Bentaleb – 5 – Some neat and tidy passes, but gave away countless cheap free kicks. Tried his best to get in and around them, which is more than he did in his last away start at Man City, however he often overcommitted and looked a little clumsy in truing to win the ball back. Can’t help but feel he’s too much of a luxury in a two-man midfield.
Shelvey – 6 – A mixed bag. The odd sloppy giveaway and aimless pass hit in hope more than expectation along with a few trademark cross-field pings that he makes look so easy. He did whip in a few good set piece deliveries into the box, giving Gayle the odd opening, and tried to get forward more in the second half, however it wasn’t his night here after impressing in last week’s defeat to Spurs.
Ritchie – 5 – Struggled to cope with Lamptey’s energy and was booked for a heavy challenge on the full-back in the first half. Tried to pick up the tempo late on and set up Carroll for that late sitter he headed wide, yet he very nearly cost us early on with a clumsy challenge on Maupay in the box. The fact his best moment was calling the linesman a “wee ****” probably sums up his night!
Almiron – 5 – Forced Ryan into a decent second half save with a clever flick with the outside of his feet, but he generally struggled to make any impact on the game here from a slightly deeper midfield role. Plenty of effort but not much to show for it today.
Saint-Maximin – 6.5 – A bit of an off night for the in-form Frenchman here. He was still one of the only players in orange who looked like making something happen, but he was far less convincing than we’ve seen in recent weeks and looked more sluggish and indecisive when he got the ball in good areas. Was subbed off with 20 minutes to play, which perhaps shows he’s running out of gas.
Gayle – 6 – Worked hard and was the one player looking most likely to get onto any decent balls we managed to get into the box, but headed over a chance from a Shelvey corner. Decent movement but suffered from a lack of service – and didn’t make the most of the odd ball that fell to him.
Carroll – 4 – Typically physical and all action, but he missed a real sitter that not only denied him his first goal since returning but all three points. Gave away a number of free kicks for clattering or pulling down his man as we resorted to long balls late on.
Joelinton – 5 – Gave us a bit more of a presence up top and got into some decent positions out wide, but didn’t really do enough with the ball and sometimes slowed down attacks that had promise by squaring up his man and passing the ball backwards.
Lazaro – N/A – Another late cameo which didn’t give him enough time to impose himself on the game.