Yesterday, Marcos Alonso celebrated two years exactly at Chelsea Football Club.
Today, he celebrated a fourth straight victory to begin the season under Maurizio Sarri by collecting another assist, which, as we’re contractually obligated to mention after each goal or assist, gives him the most goals + assists of any defender in those two years in the Premier League.
Today’s assist gives Alonso a direct or semi-direct hand in 6 of Chelsea’s 10 goals on the season: 1 goal + 2 assists + 2 penalties won + 1 “assist” for Yedlin’s own goal last weekend.
Of course, to call Alonso a defender is slightly misleading. He played a very attacking wing-back under Antonio Conte, and he’s become even more attacking in Sarri’s system, despite being deployed in an ostensibly deeper starting position. But more often than not, he’s serving as the third man on the left flank triangle between Hazard, Kovačić/Barkley/RLC, which is exactly how today’s assist came about as well.
Hazard picks up possession near the touchline and drives toward the box before dishing to Alonso and continuing his run and the return pass from the Spaniard is well-timed enough for Eden to take in stride and fire past Begović. Job done. 2-0. #CFC pic.twitter.com/zBss4TAYIr— Chelsea GIFs (@ChelseaGIFs) September 1, 2018
As great as all that is, prior to the match, Maurizio Sarri talked about how Alonso needs to improve on the defensive end. After today’s 2-0 win, that narrative hasn’t changed, but the stakes have been raised. If Alonso can improve his all-around game, he could be the best in the world.
“I think with his position maybe he is the best in Europe. Physical qualities at the top level I think. He is doing very well offensively but I think he can improve in the defensive phase. He could be the best left-back in Europe.”
-Maurizio Sarri; source: Football.London
The ball’s in your court, Marcos.
“We are working very well, but there is still room for improvement. We’re feeling good - we like what we’re doing and we are 100% focused on what we’re doing. It was difficult with them playing 4-5-1 but we were patient and we always know we have attacking players who can break teams down.”
Alonso will join up with the Spanish national team for the next ten days or so, before Chelsea reconvene to begin the busy part of the schedule. If Alonso can keep up his performances, we might just find some paydirt.
“The mentality and the fresh stuff we are doing - we’re working hard on the training ground too - when we give everything we know we have the quality to win.
“Our focus now goes to the national teams but when we come back it will still be only the fifth game so there is a long way to go.”
-Marcos Alonso; source: Football.London