PFA team of the year defender Marcos Alonso, continues to be unavailable for selection to Antonio Conte in the fallout over his tackle that the referee missed against Southampton. He missed the Burnley game and the FA Cup Semi-Final he will complete the suspension in our away game Swansea.
The punishment has been leveled after the Spaniard stamped on Southampton’s Shane Long in the fixture St Marys last weekend. The incident went unnoticed by match officials at the time. However, after reviewing video footage, the Independent Regulatory Commission decided that Alonso was guilty of violent conduct, and as a result, they imposed a three-match ban.
Disciplinary action was the right result, but highlights the inconsistency of the disciplinary system.
Former Chelsea player Mark Hughes, Southampton’s recently appointed manager said that he believed that the retrospective action was warranted as in his opinion, Alonso’s impulsive foul deserved some form of disciplinary action for what he felt had been a dangerous challenge. Had it been spotted at the time, when the offence took place, Hughes maintained that it would inevitably have resulted in a sending off.
This is probably true, however there were instances in the league that week that were more aggressive but because they were seen by the referee the only action taken was a very lenient yellow card.
Alonso refuted the offence and said that any resulting disciplinary action would be unwelcome. But having been verified by the video record and the disciplinary board, the penalty is a blot on the Spaniards copy-book, coming just shortly after having been the only Chelsea player to be nominated for a position in the Professional Football Associations Premier League team of the year.
Alonso’s removal from selection has not affected Chelsea so far with two victories. It comes at a time when the club still nurtures slim hopes of a final four placement in the Premiership. To achieve a finish in fourth, Chelsea must win all of the remaining matches and hope that Tottenham slip up.
Although Chelsea still have hopes of winning the FA Cup, according to their Brazilian attacking midfielder, Willian Borges da Silva, a player highly thought of the late, great Ray Wilkins whose sad passing is much lamented; even if Chelsea do win the FA Cup, it will only atone in part for the club’s poor showing this season in the Premiership.
Alonso forced absence could work in Chelsea’s favour
Although Alonso’s skills will be sorely missed, the Brazilian born Italian player, Emerson Palmieri dos Santos, is a more than capable replacement. He was, after-all, purchased especially for this sort of eventuality; indeed, Alonso’s misfortune, is Emerson’s window of opportunity.
The 23-year-old left wing-back has to date only played 105 minute’s-worth of football for the Blues since his transfer from Roma in January for an initial fee of £17.5-million. As an attacking full-back, Emerson has a great turn of speed making him faster then Alonso in the sprint. By staying close to the side-lines, he offers Chelsea great overlapping potential and his fast pace means that he can get back into a defensive position when needs must.
He has the skill and wherewithal for playing quick one-twos with the likes of Eden Hazard, making the Blues a real threat on the counter. Although he doesn’t have the experience yet of Alonso, so he won’t be able to go into central positions the way that the Spaniard can; his speed is his real ace in the hole, and can be fatal against his opponents if he can get telling crosses in.
With a little bit of luck
As is often the case with Antonio Conte’s selection process, the non-availability of a first-choice player like Alonso, forces the managers hand, but it can bring about surprisingly good results. One thing is for sure and that is that if they wish claim fourth place in league, they will need some luck, but above all, they will need to find their best form. The same goes of course for the FA Cup.