Since arriving from Fiorentina in August 2016, Marcos Alonso has been running riot across Chelsea’s left flank. Under Antonio Conte, the Blues played a disciplined type of football yet the Spaniard, who assumed a wing-back role, has always found a way to bomb forward and contribute on the offensive phase, an approach that saw him amass six goals and three assists on the way to the Blues’ title march in 2016-2017.
The next season saw more of the same from the jet-heeled defender. Even though his forays further up the pitch prompted concerns regarding the defensive part of his game – a campaign in which the Blues were exposed collectively at the back that led to a disappointing 5th place finish – going forward, his quality was never in doubt.
He registered seven goals and two assists in Conte’s last season in charge for the Blues, who won the FA Cup, before Maurizio Sarri took over the managerial helm at Stamford Bridge.
With the former Napoli manager’s arrival came the change in formation of the Blues, from a back three to a conventional back four – a revamp that affected Alonso’s position heavily. Yet the Spaniard looks to have adapted well under the new 4-3-3 shape and system of Sarri.
He has played a part in all eight league games of the Blues so far, in which they suffered no losses, and Alonso having already contributed a goal and two assists, while also forming a devastating link-up play with Eden Hazard at the left-hand side of Chelsea. This solidifies Sarri’s trust in the 27-year-old and the former Viola ace, who is set to sign a new deal with the Blues, revealed he has no qualms playing as either a fullback or a wingback.
“I feel comfortable in both formations,” said the Chelsea defender. “The system with three centre-backs is one I was used to in Italy and it went very well. I enjoyed playing as a wing-back due to the attacking exposure you have in that position. But I also like playing in Sarri’s current system.”
With long-time first-choice leftback Jordi Alba being currently left out by Spain coach Luis Enrique, Alonso has a genuine opportunity to establish himself as La Roja’s undisputed starter at the position. Alonso, who will be looking to impress for Spain in their upcoming matches against Wales and England, went on to speak about the similarities of his left-back role for club and country.
“In modern football, positioning, the shape and occupying spaces are very important. Luis Enrique insists this as well as my Chelsea manager,” continued Alonso. “I am comfortable and I am suited to this football. My natural position is left back on a back four, but I have to be ready to help the team regarding the demands of the manager.”