Thomas Tuchel has one key reason for choosing Marcos Alonso over Ben Chilwell in his Chelsea XI – Football.London

An impressive display in Chelsea’s Champions League final victory back in May signalled that Ben Chilwell was a player at the very top of his game.

It was then something of a surprise when he was overlooked for pretty much the entirety of Euro 2020 by Gareth Southgate, a disappointment further amplified by the fact he soon found himself out of favour at club level too.

He didn’t feature in any of the Blues’ opening six league matches, with Marcos Alonso instead being preferred in his place.

Recent reports suggested that Chilwell had been disappointed with his treatment by the club this season, clearly growing frustrated by his surprise lack of playing time.

The 24-year-old did finally make his first Premier League start of the season on Saturday against Southampton, even getting himself on the scoresheet. However as highlighted by Chilwell himself, that strike was an atonement for his earlier error in the match, giving away a penalty that led to the visitors’ only goal of the game.

“I felt I had a good game but then gave the penalty away. I just tried to bounce back from that, and got the goal in the end,” said the Blues defender.

It was an overall solid performance for Chilwell in his return to the side, yet it’s not clear if it’ll be enough to dislodge Alonso as the regular starting left-sided wing-back, particularly given Tuchel’s current fondness for the Spaniard.

His bias towards Alonso predominantly centres around the attacking threat he brings to the side over Chilwell.

Within Tuchel’s three-at-the-back formation, Chelsea’s wing-backs are key attackers. They’re required to provide width and advance alongside or even ahead of their attacking midfield teammates.



Marcos Alonso bombing on for Chelsea
Chelsea wing-backs are key attackers in Tuchel’s system, expected to get high up the pitch in possession

The same creates space and draws in opposition defenders, allowing dangerous Blues attackers to exploit more central positions. Yet from these wide positions, wing-backs will also be expected to deliver their own penetrative threat, driving with the ball, delivering crosses and playing key passes.

Chilwell has proven to be a good all-rounder, strong on both the defensive and attacking side of the game. Yet whilst there’s a case to be made that he betters Alonso in the former, there’s less of one for the latter.

Last season according to Wyscout, Alonso bettered Chilwell on a per 90 basis in terms of shots attempted and passes leading to shots on goal. Whilst as per FBref, he registered more shot-creating actions per 90 (3.09) than the England international too (2.24).

In a different system, most managers would likely opt for Chilwell over Alonso, which explains why the club under Frank Lampard, mostly playing in a 4-3-3, made a move for the 24-year-old in the first place, despite Alonso already being within the squad.

However, in Tuchel’s current system, Alonso’s attacking traits are currently that bit more valuable to the team. Therefore Chilwell has more work to do if he’s to reclaim the shirt permanently from his teammate in the coming weeks and months.

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