As the Frank Lampard reign continues in its early days, one player has stood out as a fan favourite for his stellar performances at left beck.
The former Roma man has made the left-back spot his own at the start of this season starting all four games the Blues have played this season (all five if you include the UEFA Super Cup). With his recent performances starting to be recognised by fans of other clubs on social media, it’s about time we look at how important a player he has become to this Chelsea team and why.
Flying Start to the Season
Beginning with his stellar start to the season, where has started all four games including against Leicester at home days after completing 120 minutes against Liverpool in the Super Cup. This showed fans that Lampard had decided on the Italian as his first choice. This left Marcos Alonso, the first choice in that position ever since he arrived at the club, in the wilderness. However, it has to be said that he has earned his right to be selected week in week out. His performances have continued from the back end of last season over the summer and into this season.
Looking firstly at what a left-back should be judged on, which is how effective he is at nullifying attacks against his team. His defensive performances have shown that he has been very hard to get past due to his mobility and energy to press wingers. Statistics from Squaka show that he is yet to be dribbled past in the league and has the third highest tackles only behind Aaron Wan-Bassika of Manchester United and Ricardo Pereira of Leicester City.
Strength Going Forward
Contrasting that with the other side of the game, he has been a real force going forward. Giving Chelsea another attacking option, with someone who has pace and dribbling ability who can link up with forwards and deliver dangerous balls into the box. More stats from Squaka say he has the second most take-ons completed at Chelsea and the second most touches. Displaying how much Chelsea trust him with the ball and how much of an outlet he is becoming for this team.
Having someone of equal ability on the ball on the other flank (Reece James) would provide Chelsea with another threat, which means if a team wants to stop us attacking down the left flank they would have to commit extra players over leaving spaces in other areas. I believe he carries a real threat with his dribbling, passing range and resistance to opposing team’s press tactics. All in all, a significant improvement on last season’s performances.
Over the period of last season, Chelsea fans became incensed with the performances of Spanish full back Marcos Alonso. Criticism that may have seemed harsh at first given his performances under Antonio Conte but criticism that, as time has passed, has become a fair judgement on the player’s performances. Emerson is just a whole heartedly more all-round player, with much more mobility and effectiveness in both ends of the pitch.
Importance to This Chelsea Team in the Future
Why is he so important to this team? Knowing that in the past people will have targeted our left back area, as Alonso and David Luiz were our defensive weak spots, it gave teams an easy target. That has changed now as Emerson has proven a difficult man to beat. Hence why teams have gone over the other side to target the ageing César Azpilicueta.
Looking forward to the future, if we look at how Lampard wants to play; the quick, high press, high energy game isn’t in Alonso’s locker. It is something that I believe in the next summer transfer window Chelsea will address, as they will look to offload Alonso in the hope of securing another left-back possibly in the shape of Alex Telles from Porto or Leicester’s Ben Chilwell.
With Emerson’s performances, it’s hard to justify someone else coming in to take his spot however, increasing the quality of the depth will be incredibly important once Chelsea are allowed to do business again in the transfer market. With no obvious left-back prospects out on loan or in the academy, its likely someone will be brought in.
One thing is for sure, Emerson has a lot of ability and over the course of the season we hope he can continue to keep his level as high as possible as there is a lot of tough tests to come both domestically and against Europe’s elite. Not forgetting he is still young at 25, but we are finally seeing the best of him. We can look to our left-back for the first time in a long time and be confident that he will perform as he is becoming one of our most important players.