After Chelsea’s narrow win in the EFL Cup we ask what we learn from the night.
Emerson earns his place
The Brazilian full back was impressive again. His form, contrasted with Marcos Alonso’s awful performances, make it increasingly difficult to understand the Spaniard’s continued selection.
Emerson is much quicker, so he can recover if he makes a mistake or track his winger. He can also beat a man from a standing start to get a cross in and effectively overlap which gives Eden Hazard more options. He is turing in solid performance after solid performance while Alonso continues to deliver stinkers. Surely Sarri has to make the change soon.
2. Loftus-Cheek must start (again)
The Englishman was by far the most threatening player on the pitch. Even out of position, his technique, pace and power was ridiculous. It is like he is a grown man playing in a boys match such are his unbelievable physical gifts.
It is completely unjustifiable is the likes of Ross Barkley and Willian starting ahead of Loftus-Cheek. Neither have his level of talent. They are not as creative or effective in the attacking third. They are also unable to keep possession under pressure from a pressing team. Loftus-Cheek is adept at holding the ball and then bursting past the press.
Accusations of a low defensive work rate are totally unfair. He does that side of the game just as well as Barkley and Willian. He deserves to move ahead of them.
3. Barkley regressing
Ross Barkley had a spell in October and November when he was looking promising. He scored a few goals and seemed to be improving.
His game has gone downhill fast in recent weeks. Perhaps he is intimidated by Ruben Loftus Cheeks surge of form. Regardless, he is not offering anything useful. He does not seem to have any confidence in his ability to play a risky pass and just plays safe before losing the ball when pressured. He has to step up and fast if he has any chance of avoiding being sold in the next few windows.