When looking at Chelsea and Manchester City’s squads, naturally, most attention will turn towards the attacking talent both clubs have at their disposal.
In Eden Hazard, the Blues might just have the best player in the Premier League, while there is no No.9 deadlier than Sergio Aguero on his day.
But as well as in attack, Maurizio Sarri and Pep Guardiola also have good defensive options to call upon.
Marcos Alonso and Benjamin Mendy, in particular, both offer their respective managers so much.
With that in mind, which left-back is the most influential?
Many supporters were left bewildered when their club, under the instruction of former manager Antonio Conte, moved to bring Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina to Chelsea during the summer of 2016.
A left-back whose previous spells in England came with Sunderland and Bolton, few were convinced that the 27-year-old was the answer to the club’s dire need for a new left-sided defender.
However, Alonso has been a revelation since arriving in west London, and was pivotal in the 3-4-3 tactical switch that saw Chelsea go on to win the 2016/17 Premier League title.
From the left-wing back position, Alonso became a goal threat and an overall outlet in attack for his team-mates.
The sacking of Conte and hiring of Sarri had some suggesting that Alonso’s place in the starting XI was in danger with his new boss’ preferred formation being a 4-3-3.
The Spaniard, though, has retained his position in the first team, easily seeing off competition from deputy left-back Emerson Palmieri.
TT Grade: A
Mendy’s spell as a Manchester City player has been plagued by injury. Following his big-money switch from AS Monaco last summer, the Frenchman ruptured his cruciate ligament and missed the majority of the Citizens’ Premier League title-winning season, as a result.
Mendy has also struggled with injury in this new campaign but, when he does play, he elevates Manchester City to another level.
The France international is a strong and solid defender, but going forward he is something else. With Mendy in the team, Guardiola’s side have an alternative and effective option out wide.
The left-back is brilliant on the overlap before launching low-driven crosses into the box, that more often than not, find a team-mate.
TT Grade: A-
When fit, there is little doubt that Mendy is the most well-rounded full-back in the Premier League.
In terms of 1v1 defending and positioning, it is not even a contest between the former Monaco man and Alonso.
That being said, Alonso’s influence in Chelsea’s team has been and is far greater than that of Mendy’s in Manchester City’s.
A left-back’s primary responsibility is, of course, defending, an area of Alonso’s game that does need work. But the Real Madrid youth product has become a match-winner and looks like a player Chelsea can simply not do without.
Therefore, in terms of influence, Alonso is the victor in this battle.Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
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