Gameweek 7 of Fantasy Premier League (FPL) is just around the corner and many of us had earmarked this week in pre-season as the ideal time to load up on Chelsea assets ahead of a fixture run that sees them rank top of the Fantasy Football Scout Season Ticker all the way up to Gameweek 14.
So let’s get started discussing Chelsea assets, starting with the goalkeeping spot.
Firmly first-choice goalkeeper, there is a small risk of the occasional benching in favour of Kepa Arrizabalaga (£4.9m) but it is likely to be minimal.
Edouard Mendy‘s (£6.0m) numbers are impressive for a premium shot-stopper, with a minutes-per-save average (25) that is better than most others – Alisson’s (£6.0m) is 38.6 and Ederson’s (£6.0m) is 108 – although that might be a product of the tougher fixtures so far and facing Liverpool largely with 10 men.
His minutes-per-baseline-bonus (BBPS) of 5.5 is pretty good too so he is likely to be in the mix when Chelsea keep a clean sheet: Cesar Azpilicueta (£6.0m) and Antonio Rudiger (£5.7m) have minutes-per-BBPS averages of 5.6 and 7.8 respectively, to put that in perspective. A decent shout but not one I’m tempted by.
Now, this is why most of you are probably reading this article: the beautiful dilemma that is Marcos Alonso (£5.9m).
First off, I think it is important to determine what is Chelsea’s best XI when everyone is match fit. I personally think it is:
- Azpilicueta / Christensen / Rudiger
- James / Jorginho / Kante / Chilwell
- Mount / Lukaku / Havertz
Not many of us expected Alonso to start as many games as he has already and it must be said that his performances were decent up to Gameweek 6, both in defence and attack. However, he was poor against Manchester City, as were the entire Chelsea team.
Prior to the Juventus game, it was tricky to determine what clues we should look for to assess Alonso’s prospects of starting against Southampton. Coming off a loss to Manchester City, it was likely that Chelsea would go full-strength in their most difficult Champions League fixture and it was comforting to see Alonso in the starting line-up.
However, he struggled to provide any impetus going forward and it was a bit of the Alonso of old, who seemed to delay most of his passes. He was substituted at half-time and part of this might be due to his yellow card but I thought his display was quite poor overall. Another problem Chelsea are currently facing is providing supply to Romelu Lukaku (£11.7m) in the absence of their best crosser, Reece James (£5.6m).
As the above image shows, Alonso has completed just five open play crosses and has been unsuccessful 20 times. The Spaniard’s strength is his goal threat and his positioning in the box, rather than crossing ability from open play where he has always been a bit poor. He has shown improvement, though: a 20% cross completion rate is pretty good. Trent Alexander-Arnold (£7.6m) has also completed just seven crosses, so I might be reading too much into this statistic.
The above table from last year highlights how much Chelsea are going to rely on James to provide the supply to Lukaku this season. Ben Chilwell (£5.6m) had a cross completion rate of 15%, James 21% and Alonso 5%.
I’ve removed the defender filter and James is still top for successful open play crosses in the Chelsea team last year, by some distance.
From what I have seen as a Blues fan and even without these numbers, Chilwell is simply a much better crosser of a football than Alonso is and I don’t see how the former Leicester left-back doesn’t get back into the team long-term, health permitting.
Alonso might still start against Southampton but the games after that are anyone’s guess. I’ll provide some brief thoughts on each defensive asset below:
I hope you found the article useful, I could have gone on for another 1,000 words! If you want to hear more thoughts about Chelsea assets, check out this week’s pod of the FPL Wire below: