The season has drawn to a close, with the team managing to finish in 12th position thanks to a final day win over Fulham.
Although it has been a frustrating campaign for the team, they have managed to take momentum into the summer and it is crucial that the club shows the ambition needed to move forward.
Here’s my marks out of 10 and comments on all 14 players involved in yesterday’s 2-0 victory at Craven Cottage:
Martin Dubravka – 6 – It was a quiet afternoon for the goalkeeper, so it feels difficult to give him more than a 6 when Fulham’s awful shooting meant he didn’t make a single save of note. His kicking was iffy, however he made up for that by commanding his area whenever Fulham hung a high ball into the box. He will be pleased to end the season with two clean sheets.
Jacob Murphy – 7 – The wing back performed well yet again, with five clearances and some alert defending against Fulham danger man Ademola Lookman helping the team to a clean sheet. At the other end he was quieter than usual and sometimes picked the wrong pass, but his pace and directness did give us a decent outlet on occasion.
Emil Krafth – 6.5 – The Swedish international will be pleased with how he has finished the season. It was a quietly solid display, even if he was the least impressive of the three starters at centre back. He went off with an injury and he will be hoping he’s okay for the Euros. Completed an impressive 92% of his passes before departing early.
Federico Fernandez – 8 – The Argentine will be left wondering where his future lies as he approaches the end of his contract, however this was a commanding display. He was very impressive on Sunday and showed why he is worthy of an extension, with him making eight clearances – more than any other player on the pitch – and showing excellent positioning to head away a host of crosses into the box.
Paul Dummett – 7 – Some superb blocks and seven clearances from Dummett saw him play a key role in the clean sheet. In possession, he is slowly becoming more confident with the ball and fans will be pleased that his contract has been extended. Another solid performance from the homegrown defender.
Matt Ritchie – 7 – He can claim to be a big reason for our upturn in form. It was another full-blooded and dependable display from him, as he completed 90% of his passes and won the penalty for the second goal. Supporters will now hope that he stays in the summer after he almost left for Bournemouth in January.
Jonjo Shelvey – 7.5 – The midfielder deserves credit for his tenacity in this game, especially with little to play for. Made four tackles, retained possession effectively and looked bang up for it – which is good to see when he’s often criticised for his negative body language. Much better.
Sean Longstaff – 6 – It was great to see him return to the starting eleven and he showed what he can bring to the side with four tackles, five interceptions and a few blocks in and around the box. At times, he was loose in possession and a little one paced on the ball, but it was a solid performance from him, without doing anything spectacular.
Joe Willock – 8* – The rating may seem high given he went missing in parts and almost gifted Fulham a goal with a careless back pass, but he deserves it for the impact of his loam spell. His superb finish meant he’s now scored seven in seven and this goal showed the drive that he has added to his game, with him picking up the ball in his own half and bursting past a host of white shirts before the ball fell to him in the box. The club need to do everything in their power to sign him this summer.
Almiron – 5 – This is going to feel like a disappointing campaign for Miguel Almiron and it ended with a poor performance in London. His energy and movement was typically bright, but he didn’t get into the game, looked a little lost up top without any recognised striker to work with and showed a lack of composure at times. Had a decent strike well saved in the first half, but aside from that he was ineffective.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 5.5 – It was clear that he was carrying an injury, but he showed his quality in patches as he came close to opening the scoring by bursting past his man and forcing a good save from Rodek early on. The Frenchman failed to complete a dribble in the game, which is very unlike him after FIFTEEN against Sheffield United, and was withdrawn just after the hour mark. One to forget for the usually explosive 24-year-old.
Dwight Gayle – 4 – Not for the first time over the past week, there wasn’t much buzz about his performance and he headed a huge chance over the bar when it was only 1-0. Poor.
Fabian Schar – 6 – It was great to see him back following a three-match ban. Had little to do, but was the coolest man in Craven Cottage to slide home his penalty with ease to make it 2-0.
Jeff Hendrick – N/A – On for the final 10 minutes. Only managed 7 touches of the ball, but not enough time on the field to give him a rating.