Chelsea have struggled with injuries in the squad and it was made a lot clearer against Manchester United on Wednesday night, which ends a run of seven straight wins.
Most worryingly in defence has been an issue. With the likes of Andreas Christensen and Antonio Rudiger out injured- arguably Chelsea’s most experienced centre-backs, Lampard has called upon youngsters Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi and both have delivered. However, the crucial area where cover isn’t quite right is the left-back position.
With Emerson suffering another setback, Marcos Alonso is Chelsea’s left-back cover for the season. In recent matches, he has performed well, which is a rare sight for Chelsea fans. However, Wednesday night showed once again that Alonso isn’t a natural left-back as he was caught out of positions on many occasions. The Spaniard was also the culprit who gave away the penalty which led to the first goal, his lazy attempt of a challenge proved why he is an average defender.
In my opinion, his best position is in the left wing-back role where he poses a goal threat in the attacking third and doesn’t have to rely too much on the negative part of his game, defending. As a back-up, he is a good option for Lampard this season, but with Alonso, it always comes down to if he is consistent enough.
The best solution to solve the problem?
If Emerson is still out injured after the Watford game this weekend, and Alonso puts in another poor performance, Lampard should move club captain Cesar Azpilicueta to left-back. The Spaniard played left-back successfully for Chelsea under Jose Mourinho and is more than capable of playing on the left-hand side of the defence.
This is a good option for Lampard until our first choice left-back ‘Emerson’ returns from the side-lines. This will give the Chelsea boss a better defensive shape out of position as Azpilicueta has more pace and is by far a greater defender than Alonso.
The move will also allow Reece James to gain more experience in the first-team. His quality showed against Manchester United in both defence and attack. Not only should Lampard use Azpilicueta at left-back, but he also should be thinking about using James a lot more and not just in the cup competitions.