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Game-winner Alonso reflects on ‘massive’, ‘crazy’ Chelsea win over Arsenal

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Crazy game, great result

Just like in the second match of last season, when he put Spurs to the sword with a Wembley brace, Marcos Alonso once again delivered a winning goal against London rivals on Saturday as Chelsea vanquished Arsenal to make it six points from six in Maurizio Sarri’s first two Premier League games. It was his 14th league goal in 66 appearances — a rather tremendous return for any defender or full/wing-back, and far and away the best mark in the division since his debut under Conte two years ago.

Many expected the quicker and seemingly more dynamic Emerson to be preferred as the left full back, but so far, Alonso hasn’t missed a beat of Sarri-ball after locking down the left flank as a key player in Conte’s three-at-the-back schemes the last two seasons. Sarri’s system potentially exposes individual defenders far more drastically than Conte’s, and Alonso hasn’t been immune to that either, but those vulnerabilities are due to far more than just individual mistakes, as Sarri himself pointed out after the match. Alonso also pinpointed the issue with the high press that allowed Arsenal back into the game, so at least we seem to have the theory of that knowledge down pat. Now we just need to work on execution.

“They have good players, they have the quality and we saw that if we don’t press and don’t stick together it is not easy. We just gave them too much space and didn’t press at the right times after losing the ball. That gave them time to play and counter-attack.

“They have the quality and the speed to give us troubles, but we came back strongly in the second half and it is a very important three points for us.”

All’s well that ends well, and three more points won, especially against a rival, while Chelsea are still just coming to terms with the new tactics is a tremendous boon. The game itself may have been “a bit crazy”, but we got the result that we needed.

“I’m very happy. At the beginning of the season it is not easy to win games and gain points. We played a very good game, apart from the end of the first half when we allowed them to play and gave them too much space.

“It was massive. We are working under a new manager on lots of new things and it’s not easy, but I think during most of the game we controlled it and we played very good football. It was a good game and I’m very happy for the fans and for the team.”

“I think it was a bit of a crazy game, which is usual in the Premier League. These things happen, but the way we came back in the second half, it was very important to have this personality, to play and to come back after a bad end to the first half. I think that was very important and shows we are working well and focused on winning.”

Chelsea are second in the table so far, but after only two games, that hardly means anything. Still, as long as we keep winning, who knows what can happen...

“[...] We are adapting very well. I think we have to go game by game, working hard and concentrating – that is the way to go forward.”

-Marcos Alonso; source: Chelsea FC

Maybe the results will be the same? Well... we damn well hope so!