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What has happened to Chelsea’s secret weapons of 2017?

The rise and fall of both Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses is a tale like no other in the Premier League.

The pair were effectively outcasts before Antonio Conte walked through the doors at Stamford Bridge.

Alonso was a Real Madrid graduate, who’d had spells at Bolton and Sunderland, while Victor Moses had been shipped out on loan around the Premier League for the three seasons prior to the Italian’s arrival.

Their rise was meteoric and their descent has been catastrophic… but we should never forget the pair’s flash in the pan that won The Blues their fifth Premier League title.


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2017’s Cafu and Roberto Carlos

Reuters
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2017’s Cafu and Roberto Carlos

It is worth mentioning at this point that it was really the 3-4-3 formation that won Chelsea the League.

Conte introduced it at half time at The Emirates in September 2016 – while 3-0 down – and with the club sitting in tenth.

They went on to win 13 games in a row, with the two wing-backs the chief beneficiaries from the formation change.

Eden Hazard and Willian had more space, N’Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic were there to cover the hard yards while Gary Cahill, Cesar Azpilicuta and David Luiz stretched wide enough to give the pair freedom.

Whether any run-of-the-mill wing-back could have done what these two did we will never know, but it felt as though the stars had aligned at just the right time for both the club and the two players.

Alonso was a real fan favourite

EPA
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Alonso was a real fan favourite

Kante (rightly) won the PFA Player of the Year and was joined by Cahill, Luiz and Hazard in the Team of the Season… but there wasn’t room for either of the two anti-heroes.

Alonso scored six and assisted three while Moses chipped in with three goals and four assists in the Premier League.

The League were blown away by the revolutionary Italian and his maverick wing-backs, who helped take the club to a record-high of 93 points.

Invariably at Chelsea though, success is shortly followed by a fall out.

And sure enough, by the end of the following season Conte was gone and the League had cracked the enigma code that was Chelsea’s overlapping defenders.

Many even began to mimic it.

Moses is on an 18 moth loan in Turkey

Getty - Contributor
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Moses is on an 18 moth loan in Turkey

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Since Chelsea lifted the League three years ago, the duo’s fortunes have changed.

Victor Moses is now tearing it up playing in Turkey with Fenerbahce after signing an 18 month loan deal last January.

The Nigerian has played six times this season, missing the majority of games with a hamstring injury.

His success in the 16/17 season was arguably even more staggering than Alonso’s considering he had uninspiring loans at Stoke City and West Ham the two season’s prior to Conte’s arrival.

Alonso only appears to play well in a back five

Getty - Contributor
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Alonso only appears to play well in a back five

As for Alonso, he remains at Chelsea and is in-and-out of the side, with Emerson sharing responsibilities with the Spaniard.

Chelsea have used the ‘back five’ this season and the former Bolton man looked back to his best running down the left wing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last month.

Their number three has never looked like a conventional left back and has been a chink in Chelsea’s chain when they play with the back four.

Lampard has even moved Azpilicueta across the defence on occasion, seeing that as a better option than Alonso in a back four.

It’s his position that Chelsea have put at the top of their January shopping list.

His days may well soon be numbered.

Alonso has played just eight times out of 21 in the league this year

Reuters
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Alonso has played just eight times out of 21 in the league this year

Antonio Conte breathed new life into careers that were drifting into anonymity.

Now, both at the age of 29 and lacking game time,the pair will need a resuscitation to kick-start careers that are fading back to where many may have predicted before Conte’s arrival.

The man who made it happen for the pair

News Group Newspapers Ltd
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The man who made it happen for the pair

With so much of Liverpool’s Champions League and pending Premier League success being credited to two of the best wing-backs of the modern era, it is only right we pay homage to Chelsea’s cult heroes of three years ago.

Two outcasts – who’s fifteen minutes of fame will be etched in Premier League history for years to come.


 

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