Opinion

Marcos Alonso is becoming one of Thomas Tuchel's undroppables

Tom Gott
Marcos Alonso is in superb form
Marcos Alonso is in superb form / Marc Atkins/Getty Images
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Over the past 12 months, Marcos Alonso's exit from Chelsea felt almost like a certainty.

Having been a defensive liability for a little too long, Alonso was replaced by Ben Chilwell in the summer of 2020, and despite a brief resurgence following the arrival of Thomas Tuchel, he ended the 2020/21 campaign on the bench. Predictably, the transfer rumours were plentiful and were largely met with overwhelming positivity. Most fans were happy to see him go.

Here we are, five games into the new season, and Alonso now feels like one of the most important players in the squad.

Alonso has played all but 11 minutes in all competitions so far and has not disappointed with his performances. He has a goal and an assist to his name already and could have easily bagged three or four in Sunday's 3-0 win over Tottenham. He's been superb.

Charging up and down the left wing, Alonso's undying hatred of Spurs was abundantly clear as he terrorised Emerson Royal all game long. He could be seen jostling for position with striker Romelu Lukaku and justified his selection with a perfect corner for Thiago Silva's headed opener.

Performances of that nature aren't too rare for Alonso, but what isn't often seen is a consistency to keep these levels up for an extended period of time. This year, however, Alonso seems to have figured that out.

Alonso may have needed some good fortune to get ahead of Chilwell in the pecking order this season - Tuchel has revealed the Englishman was struggling mentally after a tricky summer - but now that he is ahead of Chiwell, Alonso has made sure he cannot be dropped.

While Alonso will never claim to be an above-average defender, he makes up for that deficiency by being an elite attack-minded wing-back. In a system with three centre-backs there to mop up his mistakes at the back, Alonso has been allowed to flourish.

Tuchel asks his wing-backs to push as high up the field as possible. They're responsible for all the width in the entire team and must involve themselves in as many attacks as possible. It's all about quick passing, fluid movement and overwhelming opponents, and there is arguably nobody in this Chelsea squad better at that than Alonso.

Lukaku has scored the goals, Jorginho has pulled the strings and Edouard Mendy has been unreal in goal. But Alonso's impact is just as important and Tuchel clearly recognises that as he is in no rush to bring Chilwell back into the fold.

For as long as Tuchel plans to use a three-man defence, he has to consider Alonso as his first choice. Sure, there will be games in which more defending will be needed, and that might be the occasion for Chilwell to come in and strut his stuff. However, while Chelsea are still focused on dominating possession and creating chance after chance after chance, it's Alonso all day long.

Praise for his performances is obviously deserved, but equally as impressive has been Alonso's mental strength and ability to do his talking on the pitch.

A regular target of criticism from fans and rivals alike, Alonso knows he is playing for his Chelsea career. Supporters haven't always liked him and the transfer rumours coming out of the club suggest those in charge don't totally understand him either, but instead of throwing his toys out the pram, Alonso has decided to prove his worth on the pitch.

He's done exactly that, and Tuchel has given him the reward he deserves. Alonso won't be leaving the starting lineup anytime soon, and rightly so.

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