Emerson Palmieri began the season as Frank Lampard’s first choice left back. He played regularly until international break where he suffered an injury, and then subsequently returned to face Liverpool. Much to the dismay of Chelsea fans, down Emerson goes. Enter Marcos Alonso Mendoza. Don Alonso himself. Chelsea supporters in shambles worldwide. Let’s make one thing clear though, Alonso has been rock solid. He’d already bagged an assist in a 5-2 thrashing of Wolverhampton and has continued that run of form through Chelsea’s unbeaten run of seven games in which they have conceded two goals exactly once, and five goals overall. In fact, it took Willian’s effort against Burnley on Saturday to finally have more goal contributions than Alonso in the league. To put that in perspective, Alonso has one less goal contribution in the league than Willian AND Pedro combined this year. Not too bad for a back up left back who was supposed to be absolutely dire and our worst player huh?
Alonso has also put up staggering numbers in his team play and defending. And I mean STAGGERING. Per Understat.com, Chelsea are expected to score 62% of the time Alonso is involved in a possession. That number skyrockets to 75% when Alonso makes a key pass or attempts a shot. Yes, 75%. Marcos Alonso. Horrible isn’t he? Not to mention his drive against Newcastle saved us and earned three points. The shot he took was expected to score 7% of the time. After reading all of this, it’s hard to believe Emerson has played once since August.
So now, here’s the hard part. As much as you may hate Alonso or think he’s bad or whatever the case may be, it’s time to give credit where credit is due. Many Chelsea fans have lamented Frank Lampard for his picking team on merit, which has seen the installations of stalwart centre half Fikayo Tomori and midfielder Mason Mount in the starting XI. Christian Pulisic finally got in on the action himself Saturday, bagging a perfect hat trick.
But if you want merit, look no further than Marcos Alonso. The man has yet to put a foot wrong and many thought Chelsea were in the mud, whether it be Chelsea fans or media pundits. I supported Bakayoko, I supported Morata, and hell I even supported Drinkwater. I wanted them all to make it at Chelsea and help the team win. Alonso was next on that chopping block and it seemed for all the world that his back was against the wall, until it wasn’t. A seven game win streak and five goals conceded for a starting XI that has been fielded with just one right back and two centre halves isn’t too bad I would say. Basically, all I am saying is to believe in the players, believe in the ones you hate, and believe in Frank. Give credit where it’s due. UTC.