Well, that wasn’t worth tuning in for.
After the encouraging performances in recent weeks, that was the ‘hand grenade’ performance that we have become accustomed to under Steve Bruce.
The 9-point cushion to the bottom three should be enough to keep us in the top flight, but it is worrying that the current manager can only get the players up for a game when the pressure is on. It should sharpen minds in the board room that we may just have enough this season, but we need change in order to progress in figure years.
Here’s my comments and ratings for each player involved:
Dubravka – 5 – He will be disappointed that he didn’t do better for the first goal, as the strike was close to him. Aside from that, it was an okay display from the number one.
Murphy – 4 – It has been a positive second half of the season for the wing-back, but this was his least impressive display. He struggled against the directness of Martinelli and the second goal came down his side. In possession, he wasn’t as effective or dangerous as he has been.
Fernandez – 4 – The lack of pace in our back four was an issue in this one. Fernandez struggled to deal with the dynamism of the Arsenal attack. His passing lacked invention. It was a performance that suggested we should let him leave at the end of his contract.
Clark – 4 – He is unsuited to the role he is being asked to play in the middle of a back five. Like Fernandez, he struggled in this game. He only made one tackle and three clearances, showing a lack of aggression in his defending.
Dummett – 5 – The biggest issue is his lack of ability on the ball. There were a few occasions where he had opportunity to launch counter attacks and he decided to play backwards. Defensively, he was the best of the back three, but that wasn’t hard.
Ritchie – 4 – There were a few too many occasions where Hector Bellerin and Willian had too much space to exploit, with them getting down his side easily for their opening goal. His only defensive contribution was a single interception. Although he made two key passes, his decision making on the ball wasn’t as good as it usually is.
Shelvey – 3 – The stand-in skipper is a liability in matches like these. Without Hayden or Willock, there aren’t enough legs in central midfield and Shelvey is a passenger. On the ball, he was wayward and Bruce should consider dropping him before the end of the season. We need to try to play without him.
S Longstaff – 5 – He was better than Jonjo Shelvey, as he made four tackles and tried to interrupt Arsenal’s possession play. There was some nice passing from the midfielder, but it wasn’t his best performance.
Almiron – 6 – The Paraguayan was ineffective on the ball. There were a couple of occasions where he had a chance to run at the Arsenal defence and his touch let him down. He was a little fortunate to escape a second yellow card. However, he did run himself into the ground, unlike some, and he made a key clearance off the line.
Saint-Maximin – 6 – The Frenchman was our most dangerous player, but he didn’t have as many opportunities to run with the ball as he has had in recent weeks. There was a break at the beginning of the second half that he could have done better with. If we had equalised, it may have changed the game. However, if he is only in position to influence the game once or twice, the blame lies with the rest of the team rather than Saint-Maximin
Wilson – 5 – There were some good runs from the forward, but he was working with scraps. His only shot came from a corner in the first half. It’s harsh to mark him down but he didn’t really get a sniff here.
Joelinton – 5 – There were some good contributions from the Brazilian, but he couldn’t really influence the game.
Schar – 4 – It was good to see him back after a few months out, but he picked up a red card. Although it was a silly challenge, it was a harsh decision.
Gayle – N/A – Only came on for the final few minutes and barely got a kick.