Chelsea will be without Marcos Alonso for the next three games after it was confirmed on Thursday that the Spaniard was suspended for his challenge on Shane Long at the weekend.
Alonso escaped punishment from referee Mike Dean at the time of the incident, and so this retrospective action will come as no consolation to Southampton after their 3-2 defeat.
However, it will be a blow for Chelsea as their first-choice left-back will now miss their FA Cup semi-final clash with the Saints on Sunday, as well as Premier League games against Burnley and Swansea City.
In turn, that should now open the door for January signing Emerson Palmieri to get the opportunity to impress, as he has struggled for playing time since joining the club from Roma.
The 23-year-old has already been confirmed as a starter against Burnley by Antonio Conte in his press conference on Wednesday, and as noted in the reaction from fans below, they’re desperate to see Palmieri flourish in Alonso’s absence and be given a chance to earn more playing time.
Starting against Burnley will give him the opportunity to get his legs under him and boost his own confidence, as he’ll hope to make a strong case to start against Southampton at the weekend in order to play a key role in helping Chelsea take another step closer towards winning silverware.
Deploying Davide Zappacosta on the left flank could be another option that Conte considers on Sunday, but Emerson will undoubtedly be hoping to stake his claim and stay in the line-up.
time for Emerson Palmieri to shine. https://t.co/bKu3yeyXFP
— infzer0 (@infzer0) April 19, 2018
Time to fully utilise Emerson on left wing back now that Alonso is banned for 3 months! @ChelseaFC
— Rii-Chuan™ (@chuannyboy) April 19, 2018
Finally .. Emerson !! https://t.co/a9cufl6LYp
— Damola Bowale (@damola_) April 19, 2018
If Emerson doesn’t play now I give up
— Giroud Sandstorm (@BenMainwaring1) April 19, 2018
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) April 19, 2018
Conte said yesterday that Emerson might play Sunday so he might only get 2 games which is hardly enough to properly impress should have majority of mins for rest of season we need to what he has
— Mat (@mat_ellis) April 19, 2018
Conte will still find a way not to play him
— Kelechi ogoke (@Kingkuba170) April 19, 2018
We’ve got Emerson who’s is more like Marcos!!!
— Rexford Pounds (@RexfordChelsea) April 19, 2018
Good. Time for Emerson to show what he’s got.
— Wellington (@tengu_lol) April 19, 2018