Who needs Alex Sandro? Amazing Alonso proves value to Chelsea in smash-and-grab at Spurs

Marcos Alonso Chelsea
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The Blues' Spanish wing-back scored both goals as Antonio Conte's men proved their mettle in a dramatic 2-1 win over Tottenham at Wembley


Chelsea have been repeatedly rebuffed in their summer-long pursuit of Alex Sandro all summer long but Marcos Alonso made one wonder if the Blues really need the Juventus wing-back with a wondrous display at Wembley on Sunday.

The Premier League champions had arrived at Spurs' new home shorn of several first-team players through a combination of suspension and injury and they were dominated for almost the entirety of the game.

However, just a week after slumping a shock loss to Burnley at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea still found a way to overcome one of their title rivals thanks, in no small part, to the brilliance of their left wing-back.

Indeed, the £23 million that the Blues paid Fiorentina for Alonso now looks like a steal. The Spaniard with the sweet left foot struck twice at Wembley, opening the scoring with a sublime free kick and then, after Michy Batshuayi had put through his own net, deciding the game in the visitors' favour in the 88th minute with a fierce low drive.

Marcos Alonso Pedro Chelsea

Alonso's importance to Chelsea was underlined by the fact that not only did he have more touches than any of his team-mates in a backs-to-the-wall performance that bore all the hallmarks of a classic Antonio Conte performance, but also the remarkable statistic that the 26-year-old Madrid native was the last player to score two goals in an away game for the Blues, against Leicester in January.

His latest double could not have come at a better time for his club. The word 'crisis' has been bandied about Stamford Bridge a lot in recent weeks, after a summer in which Conte has hardly hidden his disappointment at the lack of new arrivals in west London.

However, while Chelsea were hardly brilliant at Wembley, they were as resilient as Tottenham were wasteful. 

This was not a game that Spurs should have lost - they had more shots (18-10), corners (14-3) and possession (67.6%) - but they did not make the most of the chances that came their way. Chelsea did, scoring with their two shots on target.

Conte, to his credit, once again got the maximum out of the players available to him. Tiemoue Bakayoko was only considered for selection because Chelsea were so short on numbers in midfield and although the former Monaco man tired in the second half, it was testament to his character that he lasted the entire 90 minutes on his Premier League debut.

Some pundits and fans feared that Chelsea might suffer the kind of slump that saw Jose Mourinho sacked in December 2015, seven months after winning the title, but, in truth, the Blues' battling performance was more reminiscent of the Portuguese's side of 2004-05: defensive but ruthlessly efficient.

Antonio Conte Chelsea

David Luiz arguably best typified their fighting spirit. It was versatile defender's first outing in midfield since re-joining the club and since working with Conte. 

He showed leadership, aggression and big game experience as Spurs pummelled his side for the best part of 90 minutes. He recovered possession 10 times, made five tackles and four clearances during a heroic display. As Alonso said of his team-mate afterwards, "David did such a good job today."

The Brazilian, like Alonso, also arrived at Chelsea on deadline day, offering Conte hope that there are still good deals to be done before the transfer window closes on August 31 as the Italian coach looks to add much-needed depth to an over-stretched squad.

However, while Sunday's game confirmed that the Blues lack players, it also illustrated that they do not lack team spirit.

"I want to thank my players because their commitment, their desire and heart they put on the pitch was incredible in what has been a very difficult moment for us," the former Juventus boss enthused.

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Marcos Alonso

"I am very pleased with the will to fight for every ball and they showed me the desire of last season is still there."

Evidently, the champions are not about to give up their title without a fight. As Alonso so dramatically underlined, Chelsea still boast both quality and character in abundance.