Marcos Alonso has not lost a Premier League match in over two and a half years. Of course, he’s spent most of that time not playing in the Premier League, but combining his last four games on loan at Sunderland in 2013-14 with Chelsea’s current ten-match winning streak, Alonso now has a fourteen-match personal winning streak going.
Alonso’s streak started with a 2-1 shocker away to Chelsea (which all but ended Chelsea’s title hopes in 2013-14), part of Sunderland’s great escape that season. It was his shot that Mark Schwarzer spilled into the path of Connor Wickham for the equalizer. The left back was just one of six players out of the combined 22 starters on that April afternoon who also started on Wednesday — Azpilicueta, Cahill, Willian for Chelsea, and O’Shea and Borini for Sunderland were the others. The away team once again triumphed. Alonso’s team.
It’s second nature, really, winning nowadays. Ho-hum.
“What does the dressing room feel like after ten wins? We are getting used to it. We don’t celebrate like we used to. Now we are working hard, and that is the main reason. It is easy to work during the week if you are winning. We have got to keep working hard to keep this atmosphere in the dressing room.”
The winning mentality that has characterized Chelsea for more than a decade disappeared rather spectacularly during last season’s collapse, but thanks to Antonio Conte, we seem to have recovered this elusive mojo.
Of course, if you’re Conte, this is no time to sit back and admire your accomplishments. Now is the time to work harder, to work better, to work more. Always improve.
“We will be three off [Arsenal’s 14-match win streak] record if we win on Saturday, that’s the main thing now. We focus for Saturday. We will speak about the record if we get it.”
“No, the manager has not changed with the wins. He hasn’t mellowed, definitely not. He likes to work hard and he likes the players to give everything. That is something that is passed down to the players, and is very important for us.”
“It is an amazing run. The team is doing great since I came. It’s been ten wins and eight clean sheets. That says a lot about how the team is putting everything in and training hard during the week. We have got to keep working and have a good rest for Saturday.”
“We have a lot of games now. It’s going to be a tough Christmas period because we have a lot of tough games and so many in a short period of time. It’s going to be hard but we have to take it game by game.”
-Marcos Alonso; source: Independent
There’s always a danger of looking too far ahead in these sorts of things. It’s easy to get complacent, it’s easy to let concentration levels drop, it’s easy to slip up. Chelsea have shown the ability to grind out a couple wins, which does bode well however.
How long can we keep this going? Who knows. The important part is to win the next one. The toughest challenge™.