Chelsea backup left back Emerson Palmieri probably didn’t mean to do anything more than set the record straight regarding his injury status and congratulate his teammates on their excellent 1-0 victory over PAOK on Thursday night, but the Internet had other plans.
Almost immediately after the referee’s final whistle blew, Emerson, who was one of seven (7) first-team players left behind at Cobham (due to various fitness and eligibility issues), went online to post a quick tweet and show his support for his teammates while also responding to what he might have deemed some confusion regarding his fitness status.
“I’m fine, I’m not injured ... Good win today boys, Come on Chelsea!!! [2x flexing bicep emoji]”
We have to quote, since the tweet was only up for a couple hours before getting deleted.
Reactions to his tweet ranged from matter of fact acknowledgement to mild interest and intrigue to straight up “hint at frustration” as the Evening Standard put it. It may have actually been better to not delete the tweet; now it’s obvious that somebody somewhere thought it was a bad idea — either because people were misinterpreting it, or because he was actually voicing some frustrations in public.
Sarri took every Chelsea player who wasn’t injured (Kovačić), able to be rested (Hazard, David Luiz), or ineligible (Drinkwater, Green, Piazon) to Greece. Emerson certainly is eligible and he certainly shouldn’t be fatigued, and although no one said that he was injured, that was one of the more obvious assumptions to make. Some sources did report Emerson as having returned from international duty with a fever or a sore throat, but the same was said about Italy teammate Davide Zappacosta, and he played in both games since, as a substitute against Cardiff and the full 90 against PAOK. Then again, Jorginho was in that squad, too, and he did not get sick at all, so perhaps some had it more severe than others.
Sarri told us that he had a fever last Friday— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) September 19, 2018
None of that categorically rules out feelings of actual frustration either. Perhaps Emerson thinks he’s fit but the coach or the physios disagree. The left back had spent much of the past couple years sidelined with a major ACL injury, and that could add some latent frustration, too. If he was truly ill, that could’ve also affected his match fitness without creating an actual injury. Or maybe there is an actual issue, and Sarri simply doesn’t rate him — Emerson hasn’t played since preseason after all, though he’s not alone in that regard.
Since joining in January, despite limited game-time, Emerson has been a very good, professional squad player with appropriately matching behavior in public. While it was surprising that he did not play against PAOK, Sarri did only rotate half the team and Alonso has been on fire so far this season. Emerson, who turned 24 last month, will surely get his chances going forward however, and this little deleted tweet will prove much ado about nothing. (Or not.)