Date: 19th October 2019 at 6:56pm
Written by:

Marcos,

Marcos Alonso runs down the wing for me. 

Do do do do do do do do do do do

It’s been quite an up and down career so far for Chelsea’s cult hero left (wing) back.

Coming into Antonio Conte’s majestic 3-5-2, where he excelled as a marauding left wing back in our title winning team, Alonso quickly established himself as a firm favourite, both with Conte and the supporters.

Alonso’s cult hero status was largely gained through his ability to score regular goals, including the two away at Wembley against Spurs.

A sweet left boot, an eye for a free kick and lets face it, a gorgeous face, put Alonso firmly in the fans favourite camp.

Then last season under Mauricio Sarri, opinion started to change massively.

Alonso was “too slow” “unable to play in a back four” and more laughably “no where near as good as Emerson”.

The fact was, Alonso had been the most exposed defender in Sarri’s 4-3-3 system, with either Mateo Kovacic or Ross Barkley patrolling that left hand role in the midfield.

Add to that Jorginho at the base and Eden Hazard in front of him, Alonso was virtually left to defend the flank by himself.

So of course with that isolation, he will look slow and unable to play in a back four. Anybody would.

Frank Lampard’s arrival saw Chelsea maintain that back four to start the league campaign, with Emerson chosen to start.

The Italian defender did reasonably well and was perhaps unlucky to succumb to injury, which has allowed Alonso another bite of the cherry.

Lampard went 3-5-2 in Alonso’s first game back, perhaps to better suit his seemingly more natural position as a wing back, but gradually Lampard has returned to the four and Alonso has maintained his impressive performance levels.

So why has Alonso looked so much better in Lampard’s Back four than he did in Sarri’s?

Quite simply, it’s his team mates.

Every single player on the pitch is working to support their team mates.

One of the reasons Cesar Azpilicueta looked so out of depth early in the season is because he wasn’t protected by his winger, with Christian Pulisic being guilty of this.

It’s no coincidence that nobody is talking about Azpilicueta being past it since Willian has returned to the first team.

The same goes for Alonso, with either Pedro, Mason Mount or Callum Hudson-Odoi in front of him, he knows he has some added protection so he can make the runs into the box that has got him so many goals in that breakthrough season.

Newcastle’s deep defensive line meant that Chelsea were able to push the full backs on and allow them to overlap.

Alonso’s positioning for his goal is a prime example of this. He can effectively play as a wing back in these type of games because 1) the opponent is so deep and 2) he knows his team mates will give everything to get possession back should they lose it.

Sadly we live in an era where players are written off after 5 minutes, where pictures are posted with big red X’s scribbled across them, but as the age old saying goes, form is temporary, class is permanent.

Lampard has quickly created a culture where every player is expected to give everything to the cause and so far the players haven’t let him down, and as a result, players like Alonso are able to silence their haters.

Marcos,

Marcos Alonso runs down the wing for me.

do do do do do do do do do do do

Dean is the author of ‘Cult Fiction- how a year under Sarri almost tore Chelsea apart’ available on Amazon now amzn.to/2T7v5Tu