Frank Lampard had left the Spain international out in the cold after a blazing row earlier in the season, but he now finds himself back in favour
While Frank Lampard never really got to grips with figuring out what his best Chelsea team was during the final months of his tenure, he did at least have the left-back position locked down.
Ben Chilwell’s arrival in a £50 million ($69m) deal from Leicester City over the summer, coupled with Marcos Alonso having been ostracised in west London, meant that there were very few selection debates to be had in that area of the pitch.
But as with most things at Stamford Bridge since Thomas Tuchel took over the reins, a previously unforeseen scenario is playing out for the Blues right now.
Alonso’s career looked dead and buried back in October following Chilwell’s arrival and a disastrous first-half performance from the Spain international as Chelsea shipped three goals away at West Brom in the early weeks of the season.
Lampard pinned the blame on Alonso at half-time before substituting him, with Alonso choosing to watch the second half of the 3-3 draw from the team coach rather than the touchline or away dressing room.
The 30-year-old was not happy with the language Lampard used towards him nor that he had been singled out for what was a terrible showing by almost the whole team against Slaven Bilic’s newly-promoted side, and was keen to let the manager know in what turned into a blazing row.
That proved to be Alonso’s final appearance under Lampard, and not just on the pitch. The former Real Madrid trainee did not even make another matchday squad under the Englishman, so far out of the picture was he.
Chelsea looked to offload Alonso in both the summer and January transfer windows, but there was little interest shown in a player whose £150,000-a-week wages are prohibitive given the financial realities of a Covid-19 world.
Instead he remained with the Premier League giants, and given how prominent he has been since Tuchel replaced Lampard, he may well be glad he did.
A number of players have benefitted from Tuchel’s arrival, but few have seen their fortunes change for the better as much as Alonso, with the left-sider having started four of the German’s six games in charge ahead of Saturday’s clash with Southampton.
Tuchel’s switch to playing a 3-4-3 has seen Alonso return to his favoured wing-back role, where he is given the freedom to attack much as he did during Antonio Conte’s reign.
The fact that Alonso has slotted straight back in is credit to the player himself, particularly given his presumed lack of match fitness having not played a minute of competitive football since September.
“After a tough time not being involved much in games, I am so happy to be back playing and helping the team,” Alonso said in Chelsea’s matchday programme last week. “Also, the way it went for me in my first match back was a good reward for all the hard training during this time.
“I’m looking forward to more and I think we are on the right path to be where we have to be. I felt good in the first games back.
“There was always a lot of training. When the team were playing, I was back at the training ground, working with Will Tullett [fitness coach], and I am very grateful to all the staff for sticking with me and doing the hard work behind the scenes.”
Naturally where there is a winner, there must also be a loser, and Chilwell is certainly the latter in this situation.
The 24-year-old has gone from starting all but one of Lampard’s final 16 league games in charge to being named in just two of Tuchel’s line-ups so far, with there now concerns over the amount of game time he will get ahead of this summer’s European Championship.
“Yes, if he is [worried] I can understand,” Tuchel told reporters last week. “He has had some difficult decisions against him, where they were tight choices.
“I spoke to him before the Tottenham match and said: ‘You have to trust me now that I see your talent and potential’. I see also Chilly is a very nice guy, reflective and an intelligent guy.
“I maybe felt it in the first days that it is possible that he thinks a lot about this situation, but hopefully not too much because he can trust himself and us as a staff that he can keep pushing and we will find possibilities to reward him.”
To put the whole selection debate in simple terms, Chilwell is a better left-back, but is not as good a wing-back as Alonso.
Tuchel is keen for his wing-backs to form part of a five-man unit that are free to attack with relative freedom, while midfielders Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic join the three centre-backs to form a five-man defensive group.
Though Chilwell can certainly make an impact in the final third having provided five goals and seven assists since the start of the 2019-20 Premier League season, his impact pales in comparison to that of Alonso, who has scored 21 league goals since joining Chelsea in 2016.
Over the course of his league career, Alonso averages 1.66 shots and 2.63 touches in the opposition box per game. Chilwell, by comparison, attempts 0.62 shots and takes 1.59 touches inside the 18-yard area every time he takes to the field.
It is clear that the goalposts have moved in terms of what is expected of Chilwell, but he will need to adapt quickly if he is to convince Gareth Southgate that he should remain in his thoughts for the Euros.
Few would have expected Alonso to leapfrog him in the pecking order, but Tuchel is very quickly putting his own stamp on things at Stamford Bridge.
It is up to Lampard’s former favourites to adapt.
- “No thank you”- former chelsea boss aim dig at spur June 10, 2021
- Chelsea goalkeeper wanted by Sarri in Lazio June 10, 2021
- (no title) June 10, 2021
- Chelsea join race to sign Achraf Hakimi June 10, 2021
- Chelsea already contacted erling Haaland on possible move to Chelsea June 9, 2021
- Phil foden revealed his worst nightmare ahead of Champions league final June 9, 2021
Latest Chelsea Injury Updates: Rudiger, Kovacic And Christensen UPDATES!!
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel is hoping that Andreas Christensen won’t be out for too long after the Dane suffered a...
Big Loss – Thomas Tuchel provides Mason Mount injury update following Fulham win
Thomas Tuchel has provided an injury update on Mason Mount after he picked up a knock in Chelsea’s 2-0 win...
CHELSEA: Thomas Tuchel issues fresh update over Mateo Kovacic’s injury ahead of West Ham clash
Mateo Kovacic is definitely sidelined for Saturday’s London derby between Chelsea and West Ham United, confirmed Thomas Tuchel in his...
Confirmed Chelsea Injury updates ahead of West Ham Clash
Chelsea defender Thiago Silva remains a doubt for this weekend’s clash against West Ham. The Brazilian missed the match versus...
Confirmed: Arsenal duo Aubameyang and Lacazette to miss Everton match on Friiday
The Gunners will be shorthanded in attack for their game against the Toffees on Friday at the Emirates Stadium Arsenal...
Latest Arsenal Injury: Updates On Lacazette, Odegaard And Aubameyang
Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette limped off with 20 minutes to go in the 1-1 draw against Fulham at the weekend,...
Bayern munich star Robert Lewandowski speaks on Possible move to Chelsea
Bayern Munich goalscoring sensation Robert Lewandowski has refused to rule out the prospect of leaving the German heavyweights, insisting he...
How much chelsea will make if the win against man city
Victory against Manchester City in the Champions League final on Saturday night will be worth more than £95m in prize...
Transfer: Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea to sign this PSG key player
Thomas Tuchel has reportedly asked the Chelsea board to get Marquinhos from PSG. The German manager is eager to reunite...
Chelsea target these 3 big name players ahead of 2021/2022 season
We keep hearing that Chelsea are expected to be quite busy again in the transfer market this summer as the...
Dortmund Director Claims Haaland Has Already Made A Decision On His Future
Borussia Dortmund director Sebastian Kehl has said that Erling Haaland intends to stay at the Bundesliga club beyond the end...
TRANSFER: £105 million La Liga superstar OFFICIALLY opens door to Chelsea and Premier League move
Atletico Madrid goalkeeper and Chelsea target Jan Oblak has left the door open to a possible Premier League move. Oblak...
Who To Sign? – Chelsea on the hunt for a new left back, with two names mentioned
Chelsea could still end up losing both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri this summer as the pair could well look...
Tuchel and Chelsea target La Liga defender with €35m release fee.
Chelsea are plotting a €35 million swoop for Villareal left-back Alfonso Pedraza, according to the latest reports. Marcos Alonso and...
TRANSFER: Chelsea keen on to agree deal for 20-year-old Man City star
Arsenal and Chelsea are reportedly considering to hijack Eric Garcia’s proposed move to La Liga giants Barcelona after the Catalans...
“Thomas Tuchel wants him’ Reports Claims Chelsea Are interested in Nigerian International Kelechi Iheanacho
Chelsea are one of three Premier League teams who are pursuing Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho, according to Fichajes.net. The...