Marcos Alonso has come under criticism over recent game weeks for his FPL performances. The Spaniard hasn’t produced the same attacking threat as he had at the start of the season, and some FPL managers are questioning his value. In this article, we discuss whether Alonso is worth his high price and if there are better FPL alternatives to replace.
Marcos Alonso has become the first FPL defender this season to be priced at £7.0m. He currently tops the FPL defender points charts scoring 61, and 2nd in the overall points behind his Chelsea teammate Hazard. Along with being the most expensive defender, Alonso is also the highest owned being selected by over 45% of FPL managers.
Alonso started the season in brilliant form, justifying his opening game week price of £6.5m. In his first 4 matches, he averaged 11 points per match including a 13 point haul at home against Arsenal.
During this period, Alonso registered 5 assists and 1 goal including 2 clean sheets. His underlying stats were also very impressive, taking 12 shots and 4 key passes over these fixtures.
Although his early season form was outstanding, it seems that Alonso’s attacking threat has declined. In his last 5 matches, he has only averaged 3.4 points per match, a significant drop compared to his opening 4 matches.
In this period, he hasn’t added to his goal or assist tally while only keeping 2 clean sheets. His underlying stats have also dropped, taking only 5 shots in his last 5 matches.
One aspect that may have affected Alonso’s performances is the opposition, and the quality of them. Here are the two fixture periods that have produced significantly contrasting statistics:
It could be argued that Alonso’s opening 4 fixtures were easier matches than his last 5 games. Away matches against 2 of the bottom 3 aren’t the toughest test for Chelsea, and naturally are games that provided opportunities for Alonso to attack. This can be clearly seen in the heat maps for Alonso throughout these games, operating mainly on the left in the final third.
His home matches against Bournemouth and Arsenal were also good opportunities for decent points. Both teams were poor defensively away from home and were exposed during these matches, especially by Alonso. Attacking teams such as these playing away seem to be ideal opponents for Alonso, with spaces available to expose.
Over the past 5 matches however, it seems that the matches have been tougher for Alonso to reproduce his attacking style. The stand out matches against Liverpool and Man United at home are examples of matches that Alonso couldn’t attack the same as usual. His heat map against Liverpool clearly shows the affect playing against a good team has on his attacking threat.
Alonso’s upcoming fixtures are attractive, and remain a strong reason to keep the Spaniard in many FPL teams. Over the next 5 game weeks, Chelsea play Crystal Palace, Everton and Fulham at home. Fulham especially have the worst away stats, conceding the most goals on the road.
Chelsea also play Burnley away in game week 10, and although being no push overs, they have only won 1 of their 4 games at home so far this season. Burnley are also conceding the most shots per match at home (17), suggesting an opportunity for Alonso.
Although Chelsea are having to balance cup competitions during these league fixtures, Alonso’s importance to the team should see him not rotated. It’s important for Chelsea to keep clean sheets over these home matches, and will provide further information to whether Chelsea are strong defensively. If not, this will put additional importance on the attacking returns of Alonso to replace the lost clean sheet points.
Risks and value of FPL defenders
Reflecting on the home match against Cardiff in game week 5, it seemed like an opportunity lost for FPL owners. Although Alonso only scored a disappointing 2 points, he did create 1 shot and 3 key passes. And we think that the match against Cardiff is a great example of the risk and value in defenders.
Although Alonso posted decent stats against Cardiff, his points were ultimately affected by conceding a goal. In some cases, it is out of the control of your FPL player and in turn is at the mercy of other defenders to maintain consistent clean sheet returns.
This is why owning an attacking defender, in many cases a full back, covers this risk of losing out on clean sheet points. At £7.0m, Alonso is an expensive FPL asset however provides some of the most consistent attacking returns over the course of a season. The set piece potential coupled with his proven finishing ability shows the value in owning him.
However, effectively you are owning a £7.0m asset who’s points are hugely dictated by the opposition quality, team mistakes and overall squad performance. Chelsea have proved that they can keep clean sheets, but at Alonso’s price the ownership of him is more than clean sheets. You are expecting him to produce attacking points on a regular basis, and the risk of conceding a goal only adds to the expectation of him delivering.
Our argument for this is whether FPL managers are firstly, happy to spend £7.0m on a defender who doesn’t play for the best defensive team in the league. And secondly, if they do not keep a clean sheet, think that Alonso can return more attacking points than the affordable alternatives.
Chelsea are playing well this year, however are arguably doing this without a goalscoring striker. Morata has only scored 2 league goals and Giroud has yet to get his first for the season. Hazard has been the main source of goals for Chelsea, however with a lack of goals from the striker it could have a long term effect on Alonso’s assist potential. Although this isn’t a proven concern right now, it’s worth acknowledging and keeping on the radar.
So if Alonso continues to produce underwhelming attacking stats, who are the viable replacements? Due to his high price, all FPL defenders are straight swaps for the Chelsea man. Our first recommendation would be Benjamin Mendy.
Mendy (£6.3m) leads the way for league assists with 6, and is averaging 7.8 points per match. Mendy lost ownership during the rumoured fall out with Guardiola, however has started the last 2 matches and played 90 minutes in both. Mendy provides similar attacking threats to Alonso, in a better attacking team in Manchester City.
Although City have mixed fixtures upcoming, they have proved that they are fixture proof in their attacking returns, along with keeping 6 clean sheets so far this season. The same can be said for Mendy, and at £0.7m cheaper than Alonso, he would provide some additional funds to strengthen the squad.
Liverpool have matched Manchester City’s impressive defensive start, with an equal 6 clean sheets and 3 goals conceded. Robertson has played every minute so far this season and without any real threat to his position, he is a guaranteed minutes pick. Whereas owners of Alexander-Arnold have suffered from rotation in recent game weeks, it seems Robertson is the best way into the Liverpool defence.
Robertson hasn’t delivered the same level of attacking returns compared to Alonso and Mendy, with only 2 assists. However, as mentioned before, the real value is the guaranteed minutes in one of the best defensive teams in the league.
Mendy (16%) and Robertson (29.3%) were both part of a popular template defence for many FPL managers at the start of the season. And for some managers, they already own both of the mentioned players, bringing a question as to whether the Chelsea defence offer alternative options.
Azpilecueta (£6.4m) hasn’t been able to replicate his attacking form of last season, and at his price there are better options available such as Mendy and Robertson. Luiz (£5.5m) and Rudiger (£5.9m) have played almost every minute for the Blues and are the first choice centre back partnership.
Rudiger has enjoyed the better returns registering 45 points, scoring 1 and assisting 1, both coming in last weekends match against United. At £5.9m, he doesn’t necessarily provide the attacking threat that the other options do, but is a guaranteed minutes in a good defensive team.
We think that there is a good case to transfer out Alonso for a cheaper alternative. At £7.0m, Alonso is significantly more expensive than any other notable replacement.
It seems that a big worry over his sale is the ownership that he has, and the potential of him scoring big rather than his form. Selling Alonso, for him only to return big in the following fixture, could have an impact on your overall ranking.
Firstly, we think that if you currently don’t own Alonso, it isn’t important to get him into your squad.
We believe that it is essential to own either Robertson or Mendy. If you do not currently own Mendy or Robertson, then they would be the transfer to make if you own Alonso and have doubts over his value. Mendy would be our first pick due to his outstanding attacking returns, playing in the best team in the league.
However, if you own Alonso and one of the above mentioned, then we don’t think making the sale is the biggest concern as of now. Chelsea have some good fixtures coming up, and although Alonso’s attacking returns have declined, we think the opponents have been a factor in this.
The luxury of Alonso’s price tag is the ability to transfer in any alternative. We think this should be done with a deal of consideration as re-owning Alonso is difficult at his value. Holding Alonso for the coming three game weeks seems the smart move, and making a move away after if his attacking returns continue to underwhelm.
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