Its all about Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso for Chelsea

Victor Moses has joined Fenerbahce on loan until the end of the season
Victor Moses has joined Fenerbahce on loan until the end of the season
Chelsea winger, Victor Moses now plays has a wing back and has become a mainstay in the team

Well, this is the story of two players who were before this season, average players, both have them were somewhat journeymen and they are both 26-years old.

They have taken the Premier League by storm and have thrived under the eagle-eye of Antonio Conte and under his 3-4-3 formation this season.

Read MailFootball analysis on the duo…….

Even with Chelsea a goal to the good against Arsenal on Saturday, Antonio Conte was suddenly incensed late in the first half.

For the often-animated manager it was a familiar spike in his emotions. Conte grabbed at the jacket of his assistant Angelo Alessio and bellowed at him to get down the touchline to sort out the issue he had identified.

“I was angry because (N’Golo) Kante was supposed to track back in place of (Victor) Moses,’ he said afterwards. ‘When I see something that isn’t going right, I am capable of murdering anyone.”

Conte is hugely invested in the fortunes of Moses – and Marcos Alonso – as the two wing backs in his 3-4-3 system which has taken the Premier League by storm.

It was been some transformation for both men compared to their previous Premier League experiences.

Marcos Alonso wheels away after scoring Chelsea’s second goal against Everton

Right-sided Moses, 26, had been a bit-part for Liverpool, Stoke City and West Ham in a succession of average loan spells before returning to the first-team fold at Chelsea.

On the opposite flank 26-year-old Alonso was popular at Sunderland and also played for Bolton Wanderers in England but that was far from the heights he is now hitting.

Conte’s command over the two wing backs’ improvement comes down to the personal touch.

Both Moses and Alonso spend plenty of time with their manager’s arms around them – whether that be an end-of-game embrace or as the Italian guides his players in training.

Conte will happily drag the two wing backs around the pitch at Chelsea’s Cobham training base in a micromanagement of their positioning – which is why he was so alarmed to see space opening up as Moses moved away from his normal spot against Arsenal.

And it is an approach that is clearly working so far. Moses and Alonso have been outstanding and look well-placed to claim what would be a first league medal for both men.

There would have been times on Moses’ loan journey around the Premier League when he would have really doubted whether he had a future at Chelsea.

Marcos Alonso scored twice against Leicester. He is the highest scoring defender this season

Having moved to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2012 for a fee of £9million from Wigan Athletic, he was used predominantly as a substitute and impact player in a turbulent first season under Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez.

Despite impressing in pre-season in the years that followed the Nigeria international was never really fancied by Jose Mourinho – nor was he a key figure on loan at Liverpool, Stoke or West Ham.

But Conte, making it clear his players would be allowed to pitch their abilities to him on a clean slate this summer, took an interest.

Hull City looked at moving for him but the new boss at Stamford Bridge liked what he saw in pre-season outings against the likes of Real Madrid and kept Moses on as an option.

He was frequently used as a substitute but it was only when the switch to 3-4-3 came about that Conte would find a place for the wide-man.

Moses had been drilled on the new role in training since the start of the campaign but was finally unleashed in it in the October win over Hull that set off a 13-game winning streak.

Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte celebrates with the fans after Eden Hazard’s brilliant strike

And while Tottenham managed to expose the frailty of Chelsea’s right side in the air last month few have found a way past Moses as he becomes accustomed to the requirements of his new position.

Much of Alonso’s progression from bottom-half of the Premier League favourite to a key cog in a team looking destined for the title can be put down to his years in Serie A with Fiorentina.

“Italy is like a masterclass for defenders,” he said after signing for Chelsea.

“I used to play for Real Madrid and because you rarely had to defend there I used to work more on my attacking qualities, but in Italy I’ve improved defensively and also mentally.”

His three seasons at Bolton – between the ages of 19 and 22 – provided him with a perfect grounding for the Premier League and he proved a key member of the Sunderland side that miraculously stayed up in 2013 while on loan from Fiorentina.

But the £24m arrival at Chelsea in the summer was widely derided as a panic buy – along with that of David Luiz – as Conte desperately searched for defensive reinforcements. Few predicted the influence both men have had since.

At Stamford Bridge, Alonso has the perfect combination of Premier League experience and the Serie A discipline that Conte requires.

And, as seen against Arsenal, he has even chipped in on the goals, too. He is the top-scoring Premier League defender since returning to England with four league goals.

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