Best in class

In the 2017/18 season Chelsea’s defenders made a big contribution at both ends of the pitch, with two Spaniards impressing in particular.

According to the Premier League’s official statistics, no player classed as a defender has contributed more in an attacking sense than Marcos Alonso.

The wing-back was especially handy when it came finding the net himself, with his seven goals in the competition this season two more than the next best - another Spaniard in Nacho Monreal of Arsenal and Crystal Palace’s former Blues left-back Patrick van Aanholt, who have five each.

He is also clearly Chelsea’s biggest threat from our defenders, with our other goalscorers from the back being Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger with two each, and solitary strikes from Davide Zappacosta and David Luiz.

Of course, Alonso’s cause has been greatly helped by his emergence as one of the Premier League’s most effective free-kick takers since arriving in west London from Fiorentina in the summer of 2016, with two of those strikes coming direct from a dead ball. He’s not bad on the receiving end of a set-piece either, with another pair of goals coming from getting on the end of Cesc Fabregas corners and free-kicks.

His goals have also contributed plenty to our standing in the league table, as his seven goals have earned us a total of seven points, meaning his goals single-handedly made the difference between us finishing above or below Arsenal!

The two assists which also added to our number three’s combined total were both flat crosses from the left wing, teeing Willian and Olivier Giroud to score headers against Huddersfield and Southampton respectively, both away from home.

That means he is surpassed in the assists stakes by his team-mate and fellow Spaniard Azpilicueta, whose six assists and two goals mean he is joint-second on the overall Premier League combined list.

He sits alongside the identical record of Tottenham’s Ben Davies, plus the one goal and seven assists by Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United, making the Hammer the only defender with more Premier League assists than Cesar in 2017/18.

Those six assists obviously played the large part in his place on the list, and were part of a tried and tested combination, with every single one of them providing a goal for another of his countrymen, Alvaro Morata. What's more, four of the six resulted in headed goals, with the two exceptions both coming in the same game as Stoke clearly failed to learn their lesson at the Bet365 Stadium in September, twice allowing Azpilicueta to set up Morata to score with a right-footed finish.

The striker even returned to favour for one of Azpilicueta’s two goals this season, getting his head to a corner to allow Azpi to turn in from close range against West Ham in April, having already scored a header of his own in the 4-2 win over Watford back in October. He must like his home comforts, with both those goals, plus his single Champions League goal against Qarabag, all coming at Stamford Bridge.