Marcos Alonso is the best left wing-back at Chelsea, and certainly one of the best in the Premier League. Trouble is, Chelsea don’t play with wing-backs these days, save for the odd occasion, and haven’t regularly since Antonio Conte’s departure a year and a half ago.
This tactical shift has seen Alonso’s minutes dwindle, to the extent that he’s featured in just 4 of Chelsea’s last 22 matches in all competitions — and was hauled off at half-time in one of them. But with Lampard shifting back to a 3-4-3 against Spurs yet again this past weekend, Alonso was back in the lineup and back among the best performers on the team — capping off his day with a customary goal, the 20th of Chelsea career. He’s already one of the highest scoring defenders in Chelsea history, and he’s gotten there in just 136 appearances. (Although calling Alonso a “defender” may be stretching the definition at times.)
But as amusing as it may be to wheel out Alonso twice a year against Spurs, the 29-year-old’s time at Chelsea does seem to be coming to an end. Linked with moves both in January and already for next summer — including first and foremost with Conte’s Inter — it would not be surprising to see him leave, especially back to Italy, where he made his name.
Like Olivier Giroud, Alonso has been very professional about it all and has not been making any waves in the media. Even his father, a former player and coach himself, played it low-key when tracked down by CalcioMercato.
“I don’t know [if there was an opportunity to return to Italy in January], it’s difficult to say. He still has a three-year contract with Chelsea, it doesn’t depend on him, but on the will of the English club. I can only say that my son loves Italy.”
-Marcos Alonso Peña; source: CalcioMercato
Alonso could be back in the lineup tonight should Lampard decide to stick with the 3-4-3 (even if similar decisions previously have not paid off).