There were positives to take from the draw with Tottenham on Sunday, but you wonder if this will be another day we we’ll come to regret at the end of the season. They were there for the taking as we created six big chances, however it could yet prove to be a big point.
Here’s an assessment of each player’s performance along with my marks out of 10:
Dubravka – 5 – He kept us in the game with a smart save from Kane, but he could have done better on the second goal, with his positioning being a little bit off. His distribution wasn’t as good as it usually is either and his handling from high balls was questionable.
Murphy – 7 – It was a surprise to see him in the starting eleven, but he did very well in possession and took his chance. He was always willing to try to beat opposition defenders, as shown by his four completed dribbles, and showed impressive pace in bursting past Reguillon on more than one occasion. His crossing caused problems, but as the game went on, he started to get targeted down the right flank, sometimes switching off defensively.
Krafth – 3 – He shouldn’t be played at centre back again. His decision making isn’t good enough, which showed on the first goal, with his feeble attempt to clear gifting Kane a tap in. That mistake quickly relieved the pressure on Tottenham and changed the game state.
Lascelles – 5 – It was an okay performance from the captain. He didn’t do a lot wrong, but he struggled to guide and organised a back five where he was the only player in his natural position. Needs to show a bit more leadership.
Dummett – 6 – As usual, Dummett did well without doing anything specular – although one of his recovery tackles in the first half stopped what could’ve easily been a tap in. His no nonsense style, reliability and reading of the danger is why he is currently in the team, as Bruce knows he will always get consistency from the defender.
Ritchie – 6 – If he is to play, he should be used as a wing-back, as the position allows him get into forward areas without having to beat opposition defenders. His passing in the final third helped create clear cut chances – his cross was a teasing one for our equaliser – and he made several accurate passes down the line.
Shelvey – 6 – His lack of pace and mobility is very noticeable at the moment, in a team low on confidence. However, his passing range allowed the team to get the ball into wide positions quickly. Lost the ball in a bad area, almost allowing Kane to make it 3-1, and picked up a cynical yellow card, but it was his teasing cross that would’ve bagged him an assist should Gayle’s first-half header flew in.
S Longstaff – 7 – Considering he has been a bit part player of late, this was a very good performance. His vision in the final third allowed us to create more chances than usual. The assist for Joelinton was excellent, but he will be disappointed at how he snatched at his chance late on. Tired late on and it showed with a few of his passes, however he kept going and offered much more than Hendrick both on and off the ball.
Almiron – 7 – It was another good display from the South American. He came close to getting on the score sheet on two occasions and he made some good contributions on the ball in the middle third. Covered just about every blade of grass, offering a link between midfield and attack, but also busting a gut to get back on the cover and headed a goal-bound effort off the line to keep it at 1-2.
Joelinton – 7.5* – The Brazilian deserves real credit for his performance. He took his goal well, but he will be disappointed that he didn’t get more. His ability to get into goal-scoring positions was encouraging – helped by much improved movement – while his physicality caused problems. The marginal man of the match thanks to his goal, a key role in the equaliser (it was a great header across goal), some clever link up play, several good runs and signs that he’s learning how to use his size to good effect.
Gayle – 6 – This was the most energy we have seen from Dwight Gayle this season and it should provide encouragement for the rest of the season. He is a little bit rusty in front of goal, while his inability to play Longstaff in towards the end of the first half was a disappointment. However, there was enough about today that should encourage. Should’ve scored, but looked lively.
Saint-Maximin – 6 – It was good to see him back and his directness did cause panic when he had the ball. Sometimes picked the wrong pass, mind.
Willock – 7 – He bounced back from being dropped with an excellent cameo. It was his determination to get into the box that got us an equaliser.
Manquillo – N/A – Replaced Murphy with just 7 minutes to play.