When the line-ups were announced for Chelsea’s Premier League meeting with Manchester City at Stamford Bridge, an obvious area of concern for the Blues was at left-back.
Riyad Mahrez had been one of City’s better performers since the restart, causing problems from the right for plenty of opponents and finding the net twice in the win over Burnley.
Marcos Alonso meanwhile has not exactly been a strong point for Chelsea this season, especially when deployed in a back four.
And yet, in a significant win for Frank Lampard’s team, the left-back was not overawed, and even gave a decent account of himself against a City team with eight goals from their last two outings.
Mahrez has been averaging 2.2 shots per game in the league this season according to WhoScored, but Alonso restricted him to just one, while the Algerian managed just one dribble despite a prior average of 1.9.
Alonso was pegged back a bit more, but kept his discipline in that regard.
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He didn’t register a single shot in the game, despite posting 16 in his previous five outings in the league, and focused more on keeping his direct opponent quiet rather than needlessly flying forward in attack.
Last season, when Chelsea shipped six goals to City, Alonso was seen bombing down the wing and supporting the attacks, but it came at the expense of any ability from Chelsea to counter City’s forward play.
This improvement, then, is certainly welcome.
There have also been occasions this season where the Spain defender’s attention has been lacking, not least when defending the back post.
We wouldn’t be surprised to learn City actively targeted this weakness, given their own propensity for scoring from balls to the back post followed by low crosses, but the Chelsea man was alert to the danger.
He didn’t even get called upon to…