Alonso and I have a complex relationship; I love the guy but sometimes watching him play can be a little frustrating as we have seen in the past. He gets my love not just because of his usually well styled and polished hair, but because he can actually ball to a certain extent. Unfortunately sometimes, that extent isn’t too good enough. But was this his case this last season? Well let’s see.
Marcos Alonso 2019/2020 Season.
We barely saw Alonso on the pitch this season. This was to a lot of fans’ excitement mainly because this meant that the younger players could get more game time, as everyone was hoping for this season. And also because his fabulous moments, mostly from 2/3 seasons ago have been substituted in our minds with moments of his blunders.
We’re more prone to remember the times he’d run forward and leave the left side of our defense exposed, rather than the times he’d either assisted, scored or helped out up front and it’s understandable, he’s supposed to be a defender.
So for most of this 2019/2020 season, our Spanish LB was relegated to benchwarmer to an extent and as a result, he made just 20 appearances in all competitions. 11 of those in the Premier league, 5 in the Champions League and 4 in Cup Competitions. He started 18 of these appearances and played one of two positions; Left back in a traditional 4-defenders formation or Left Wing Back in either a 5-man defense or a 4-man midfield.
I can guess a few of you have your brows arched; 20 appearances in just over half of a season shouldn’t be considered few surely? But when you compare his appearances this season to that of last season or before, when he was a regular starter under Sarri and Conte, you’d understand why I consider his 20 appearances so far, few.
And if you think about it, He’s been excluded from the team sheet more times this season than in previous seasons. If the season had continued, he might have warmed the bench more times than he’d have warmed his boots on the pitch.
With 20 appearances sprawn across 4 competitions, I’d try to compare his performances with the success of the team as a whole and give a verdict on how well he played this season.
Alonso made his debut for Chelsea this season on the 24th of August in our game against Norwich. A Mason Mount injury scare saw him come on in the 90th minute at Carrow Road.
He got his first start and full 90 minutes the next month versus Wolves and contributed an assist in our 5-2 win.
He didn’t feature a lot in the latter part of our 2019 and was left out of the team sheet more times than he was included.
He started featuring more this year and has in fact played some of his best games of the season this year as well. For context, 3 of his 4 goals came in February of this year and helped us secure 4 points from two matches.
His performances this season have varied a lot. From posting above average ratings in matches against Tottenham (7.8, 8.13), Burnley (7.16) and Bournemouth (9.01) to performing below par in home matches against Ajax (5.9) and Bayern Munich (5.69).
His performances in the Champions League haven’t been too memorable. Our last outing versus Bayern saw him leave the pitch early after being shown a red card for a foul against Lewandowski. It didn’t also look good that he was part of the defense that let in 3 goals in that match, whether or not he was directly to blame for the goals.
Prior to that, in our 8 goal thriller against Ajax, amidst the showcase of fellow fullbacks Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta, his poor performance on the pitch saw him play only one half of the game. A night in the European Competition we thought he’d love to forget, until the Bayern game happened.
His more decent appearances have come in the league where he’s had 4 goals and 3 assists in 11 games. Interesting stats for someone who’s considered a defender but this right here might be where we have a problem. Considering his flexible roles on the pitch; sometimes defender, sometimes midfielder, these stats can be useful in deciding how good or bad his performances are. But primarily, Alsonso is a defender and so we’d look at his successes defending first of all, before we add his attacking exploits as a bonus.
In checking out his stats, Alonso averaged 1.4 tackles, 1.2 interceptions and 1.7 clearances per match. When compared to our other fullbacks, only Cesar Azpilicueta comes out on top in all.
Being the Alonso that we know, he ventured forward in most of his games still. Still comparing his stats with fellow fullbacks, his goal contributions of 4 goals and 3 assists are bettered by Azpilicueta only. This is understandable as our captain played 17 more matches.
In most games we’d see Alonso try to put up a decent performance at the back and still try to get forward as much as possible. As is typical of the Spaniard when he runs forward, he tries to make some direct contributions up top.
This was especially tough this season seeing how porous our defense was. We were already struggling when everyone stayed back, now imagine having someone running forward.
This is not to say that he should be blamed for our lapses at the back. Regardless of how good or bad his performances were, we were aware that our defense needed some improvement.
The consequences of his forward runs this season haven’t been too damning anyway. In his 11 league appearances for instance, the stats include 9 wins and just 1 loss.
In grading Alsonso, I’d give him a C. He’s had a decent season, he’s looked good (in all senses) in most games but he’s still had his lapses.
Most memorable game of his for me has to be away at Bournemouth. He was on top of his game and his two goals helped us leave with a point. This again, is one of the matches that’s seen us appreciate his attack mindedness and positioning up top. In this match he also played in the LWB position. No surprises there and we know by now that he thrives in formations that put him higher up on the pitch and with 3 central defenders behind him for safety.
His favorite goal for me came against Newcastle; a late goal to break the seemingly impenetrable Newcastle defense.
Everything about the goal was beautiful, from the pass from Hudson-Odoi to the way Alonso hit it. The lone goal was enough for us to secure 3 points and a clean sheet.
An obvious improvement I’d like to see in Alsonso is discipline in defending. So I appreciate him going forward, his forward bursts this season have helped us secure points in some of our games. If he gets to balance it all properly, basically by upping his defensive abilities then he might just be the perfect LB/LWB.
His lack of games under Frank Lampard can mean either of two things; he probably doesn’t fit into Lampard’s game plan this season or he isn’t performing well enough in training to prove that he deserves a spot in Chelsea’s starting 11.
If it’s the former, then there is some hope that he’d be with us for a while, pending when we have a squad where he’ll fit into the manager’s game plan. If it’s the latter, which it’s most likely, then we may be seeing him play his last games for us right now.
In my opinion, I would love to see more of Alonso if he can contribute more to the success of the team and if he wouldn’t be a liability. As I said in the beginning, he’s one player that has my love but has also frustrated me in the past. There’s no doubt that he’s a decent player and in the right formation and with some improvement on his part, he’d do wonders on the pitch. Regardless of where his future lies I’d always be a fan of the beautiful haired Spaniard.