Curious Case of Marcos Alonso

If you were look for a premium defender and you were already doubled up with Liverpool, where would you look? City? Leicester? Spurs? While many fantasy managers don’t favor premium defenders, rather pushing budget into the midfield position, there are some who look to get excellent value from premium defenders who return clean sheets and chip in with attacking returns.

Recently, I have been a bit detractor of players like Everton’s Luca Digne, but did give Matt Doherty of Wovles, a second look. However, after further consideration, I decided not to move on their players, opting to keep the “out of form” Marcos Alonso. Over the last two years Alonso has been a top defender, posting 177 in 2016/17 and 165 in 2017/18. His statistics come with a premium price attached, as he finished at £7.1 and £6.9 in those years.

This year with Maurizio Sarri at the reins for Chelsea, there was some concern the attacking wing back would not be as productive has he’d been in previous seasons. However, after returns of 11, 13 and 11 with a goal, four assists and a clean sheets we saw he ownership nearly double from 727k to over 1.5 million, while his price gained £0.2 to £6.7 by game week 4. He would go on to pick up three more assists and clean sheets through game week 11 with a total score of 78 points.

Alonso’s season has turned since game week 12, as he’s posted just five clean sheets, scoring 42 points but has missed the mark when it comes to attacking returns. Keep in mind, he’s hit the woodwork 6 times to lead the Premier League. He’s on a goal, seven assists and 10 clean sheets for the season and the second highest scoring defender (120 points) behind Liverpool’s, Andrew Robertson (£6.7/129 points).

Fantasy Football Secrets tweeted this statistic today that shows Alonso is the second best defender when you combine goals, assists and clean sheets. While many have bought in defenders like Luca Digne and Matt Doherty, for reduced prices, Alonso continues to hold his own. While Digne and Doherty have both seen prices rises, based off their attacking performances, Alonso has fluctuated, starting at £6.5 to a season high of £7.1, but with managers disgruntled at the lack of attacking returns, he’s currently at £6.6. That’s 5.2 PPG (points/game), 0.79 PPM (points/million) and 0.48 VAPM (value added/million). View the chart below to compare Alonso to other defenders in the top 10, based on total points.

List of the top 10 defenders, ranked by total points.

We’ve heard arguments this season regarding Eden Hazard. He’s second in the Premier League, behind Mo Salah (177) with 146 points. Over the last six games, he’s braced and returned one assist. A similar argument can be raised. Some believe you must hold Hazard all season to take advantage of his overall score. Over the last 5 years (not including 2018/19), he’s returned 173, 224, 104, 223, 202 and 190. Maybe we should look at Alonso with the same eye?

If we compare the current season to last, we seem a similar pattern with Alonso. In 2017/18 he had a stretch with a single attacking return over a 13 game period including 5 clean sheets.

This year we see Alonso has picked up a single assist along with five clean sheets over the last 13 weeks. What I haven’t show is that between game weeks 5-10, Alonso had one assists, but picked up 3 additional clean sheets. So is this lack of consistent returns typical for the wing back?

Alonso’s heat map is comparable over 23 games this season. The stats summary is divided as the key stats are down this season, but overall he’s up just a few percentage points. No surprise his xG data is down this season with a single goal, but his xA is up, granted most of that was early season. He has more involvement this season (touches – 2094 v 1545) but his goal involvement is down (19 vs 10). The only key statistic that has improved this season, BPS (507 vs 492). His goal threat (goals, attempts conversion, mins per chance created) are all down over the same period last season.

So at £6.6 does Marcos Alonso warrant real consideration in our starting XI? Many fantasy managers will immediate bring up David Luiz as a viable replacement. While he’s posted two assists in the last four weeks, there really is no comparison between these two defenders. If you are looking to save some budget then Luiz at £5.9 is worth a shot, just know he’s not as attacking as Alonso. Don’t fool yourself based on the last four games.

For me, Alonso is still a cornerstone in my premium defense that has Robertson and van Dijk, along with Mendy, before his injury. Chelsea do have some good fixtures coming up. At this point, I don’t want to move off him as I don’t think there is another defender who is returning double digit clean sheets and a big attacking threat to the game.

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