It has taken some time, but many Chelsea fans are starting to take notice of the club simply being a better team with their best left back: Marcos Alonso.
One can quickly tell how someone sees the game by how often they use the world pace (here spelled “payce”). The more they rate that particular attribute as the be all end all, the more likely it is they are not watching the game so much as playing it on FIFA and returning with their conclusions based on how they did (they lost).
That has been a mountain for Marcos Alonso to climb ever since Emerson joined the club. No matter how often Emerson got caught up field with little care in the world to track back, the simple fact that he was faster than Alonso and could track back quicker (if he wanted to) caused many to rate the Italian over the Spaniard. Little credence was given to Alonso at least performing his primary role, defending, first in a world where full backs have to do everything at once.
But slowly, that notion is changing in the eyes of many fans. Many are comparing the results with Emerson and Alonso and seeing a trend; Chelsea simply plays better and wins more with Alonso than Emerson. This is not a new notion to some, but others are shocked(!) by the idea. Regardless, those who have come around to the truth are very much welcome into the circle.
This is not to say Alonso is perfect. He does have his limitations, speed being one of those. It is simply that speed is not the be all end all. It is also not to say Chelsea does not need a new left back. Alonso and Emerson both have their strengths, but neither is strong enough in all the particular areas that can set the club apart from the pack. This is merely saying that of the two left backs have currently, Alonso is the clear standout when it comes to the entire team Chelsea has currently.
Simply looking at the results, it is clear that Chelsea does better with Alonso on the pitch. A record of 16-2-4 (72.7 win percentage) in all competitions far outshines Emerson’s 9-4-8 record (42.9 win percentage). It is not even a case of Alonso only playing “smaller” teams either. The sample size for both includes teams big and small.
Of course, it is a team game and simply saying player A wins more than player B is not very enlightening. That is where individual stats come in, though they can be misleading for the same exact reason. It should be noted that Alonso has about 200 more minutes in all competitions, but his statistics look much better than Emerson’s in nearly every category.
Pressures? Alonso has 253 to Emerson’s 169. Alonso has a tackle more, six interceptions more, and eight blocks more. Alonso is good for almost twice as much xG while maintaining roughly the same xGA as Emerson. The team sees far more actions that result in shots out of Alonso than Emerson. The ball progresses more under Alonso than Emerson, though the latter does have a better passing accuracy. Emerson is more of a dribbler than Alonso, but the Spaniard still wins out on that progression stat.
So overall, it is really no contest which left back is better for Chelsea. The whole left back versus left wingback myth has been put to bed. Pace, which Emerson has in spades over Alonso, simply is not translating to a better player on the field. Chelsea fans love a scapegoat and Alonso has often been that player, but it is simply not matching up with reality and fans are finally starting to take notice.
Chelsea still needs a new left back, but when it comes down to who will be the second, there is only one player the Blues should consider keeping around for next season.