WHAT A WIN!
A dogged and resolute defensive display from the boys brings three points back to St. James Park. Sometimes a scrappy 1-0 win feels the best!
Hopefully onwards and upwards now, both on the pitch and in the transfer market. Let’s hope the club can bring some more players through the door in the coming weeks!
Here’s my thoughts and marks out of 10 for every NUFC player involved today:
Martin Dubravka – 7.5 – A rock solid display from the Slovakian. He didn’t have many saves to make, but he stepped up when he had to, with him doing brilliantly in the first half to deny James. Much better from the big man, who was also quick off his line to gather high balls into the box.
Kieran Tripper – 7 – Had a difficult time of it in the first half, seeing Harrison get in behind him on several occasions. Really came into his own second half and showed his class, keeping a calm head to help us to a huge clean sheet. His best performance in the black and white for sure. What a signing.
Jamal Lascelles – 7 – A much improved display from the skipper, with him finally showing us why he has the armband. Dominated Leeds in the air and looked a lot more in control of his game. Was subbed off in the second half with a hamstring injury.
Fabian Schar* – 9 – Man of the match. Seemed to be in the right place at the right time, every-time. Brought the ball out of defence well, put his body on the line and barely put a foot wrong. Definitely the Swiss international’s best performance for a while. Wish he could bring that level of performance more often, as we know he’s got it in him!
Paul Dummett – 6 – Seemed to tire second half and was forced off with an injury. Definitely brings more defensive solidity that others may not. Substitution looked down to fatigue rating than an injury.
Jonjo Shelvey – 8 – Led the midfield well, especially second half. Chipped in with the all important goal from the free-kick (dodgy keeper!) and was another who put in a real shift. Wish he could be more consistent, hopefully he can kick on now and put in some more performances like this afternoon.
Joe Willock – 7 – Ran himself into the ground. Totally devoid of confidence in the first half, with him wasting a number of half chances when the ball fell his way in good positions, but his ability to keep going, carry the ball and get box-to-box was a massive help in the end. Definitely someone Howe needs to persist with, as he showed signs of improvement today.
Joelinton – 5 – Forced off with an apparent groin injury first half and struggled to get into the game. Hope it’s not serious. Team rallied round his absence when he went off.
Ryan Fraser – 7 – Cannot fault this blokes effort. Looked like he was going to collapse at one point in the second half due to fatigue. Amazing to see the players running through walls for Eddie. Has to play every week for me, goal involvements will come.
Allan Saint-Maximin – 6 – The man is always a threat but just lacks the killer instinct at times and needs to start playing to the whistle. On a few occasions he ran into trouble and didn’t get his head up. Needed calming down second half due to a disagreement with the referee. Saying that, he could’ve won us a penalty and put one on a plate for Willock late on. Still think Howe is working out how to get the best out of the Frenchman.
Chris Wood – 6 – Despite a pretty ordinary return to Elland Road, the Kiwi wins EVERYTHING in the air. A huge presence, winning so many flick-ons for ASM and Fraser. Hold up play mixed and never really looked like scoring, but still played his part. A player we need to persist with. I think the goals will come soon once he settles into this team.
Sean Longstaff – 8 – What a brilliant performance from the Geordie man. Absolutely no idea where that came from, with most of us fearing the worst when he replaced the injured Joelinton. Ran himself into oblivion and looked after the ball well. Should be extremely proud of that performance, needs to bring it every week.
Javier Manquillo – 8 – Could potentially be our best left-back if this was anything to go by! Unbelievable cameo performance, keeping Raphinha quiet and winning the free kick for the goal with a brilliant burst forward. Would be tempted to start him left back against Everton.
Ciaran Clark – 6.5 – Didn’t have much to do when coming on for the injured captain for the last 20 minutes, but did a steady job.