Joe Lumley: 6
Despite the defeat I thought we played well, and this is probably evidenced by Lumley having a much quieter evening than I think he’d anticipated. Forced into a couple of decent but routine saves early on, and commanded his box well overall.
Tom Holmes: 5
Holmes’ first start for a while and perhaps looked a little off the pace. Didn’t look particularly solid or composed but no huge errors either. Good to have him back in the starting XI though and will be an important player in the remaining 11 games.
Scott Dann: 5
Have we ever had a slower player? Dann’s lack of pace was exposed a few times tonight and the only goal of the game came from a ball played in behind him. He was indecisive a few times, unsure whether to engage or drop off, which can only be a result of his lack of pace. Did I mention he was slow?
Naby Sarr: 7
Looked the most solid of the three centre halves, and made an excellent last-ditch clearance to save an almost certain second that would’ve surely killed the game off. I’m still not convinced with him in possession, he often looks shaky and unnerving, but a good overall performance nonetheless.
Andy Yiadom: 6
Yids looks far more at home at right-back/right-wing-back, and showed glimpses of his best form from previous seasons tonight. Offered a real threat down the right and was willing to try to take on his man, just missing that final end product though, including one superb effort that rocketed past the post.
Nesta Guinness-Walker: 7
Much more comfortable going forward than defensively but still looked solid enough at left-wing-back. Provided genuine width down the left and a willingness to whip balls into the box for Andy Carroll - one second-half cross was David Beckham-esque and would’ve resulted in an assist if not for a good save from a Carroll bullet header. Wrongly brought off for Femi Azeez in my opinion.
Tom McIntyre: 5
TMac isn’t a natural central midfielder and it showed a few times tonight, giving the ball away in a few dangerous places, but often managed to recover just enough. Broke up play a few times and would really benefit playing alongside someone who could get on the ball and dictate play.
Jeff Hendrick: 4
Unfortunately Hendrick isn’t that midfielder who is going to dictate play. He played a few OK passes and kept the ball moving, but doesn’t have that authority or control over the game. Didn’t do too much wrong, didn’t do too much right, didn’t really do too much.
Thomas Ince: 6
Another industrial performance from Ince. Had a few chances to drive at the defence in the first half but didn’t produce that final bit of quality. Flashed a couple of shots past the post too. Always looked a threat but not his best game, and booked for a trip on the Sheffield keeper which was certainly over-exaggerated.
Andy Carroll: 6
Big Andy looked right up for it tonight, winning almost everything in the air and bringing balls under control that most would struggle to get a head on. Deserved a goal and nearly had one with a bullet header which was well saved. Looked surprisingly nimble with his feet and linked up play well, just, like many others, lacked that end product to get the all-important goal.
Shane Long: 6
I thought Shane was superb tonight, offering a threat in behind and still shows a turn of pace well into his 30s. Brought a number of long balls under control and I probably would’ve given him a seven or eight had he managed a goal or assist.
Lucas Joao: 4
This grade isn’t so much a reflection of Joao’s impact, which in fairness was nil, but the substitution itself. Long was proving a threat in behind, so to bring him off for Joao - who is a totally different forward - was nonsensical. It’s no surprise he hardly had a kick. If Long had to come off, Azeez was the man to put up front and leave Nesta on.
Femi Azeez: N/A
Didn’t get into the game at all in the 9 minutes he had. Maybe had one small burst forward and that was it. Shouldn’t have come on at left-wing-back.
Cesare Casadei: N/A
Came on for the final seconds and probably had one touch.
Liam Moore: N/A
Talk about a mixed reception. Came on to a smattering of boos and a number of criticisms of those boos. Was the negative reaction right or helpful? Probably not. Can you understand it to an extent? Probably.
Who was your MOTM against Sheffield United? Vote below or through this link.