MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 03:27:33

Marcos Alonso hoping Chelsea can capitalise on rivals dropping points

Marcos Alonso hoping Chelsea can capitalise on rivals dropping points
© Reuters
The Blues responded from the December 22 loss to Leicester with wins at Watford and Crystal Palace.

Marcos Alonso hopes Chelsea can capitalise on rivals dropping points with a third win of the festive period against Southampton on Wednesday.

The Blues responded to the December 22 loss to Leicester with wins at Watford and Crystal Palace, while Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal have all dropped points amid the congested run of fixtures.

Chelsea sit fourth, five points clear of fifth-placed Arsenal, in their bid to regain their Champions League place.

Marcos Alonso has described the congested festive fixture list as
Marcos Alonso has described the congested festive fixture list as "very difficult" (John Walton/PA)

"It's very difficult. You don't have time for training, you can only play and have a good rest to get ready for the next one," Alonso told Chelsea TV.

"We're seeing in the other fixtures it's very difficult. Most of the teams are dropping points.

"It's very important to get the three points."

The Blues' fixture congestion continues, with Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Nottingham Forest followed by next Tuesday's Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg clash with Tottenham at Wembley.

Chelsea's Olivier Giroud suffered an ankle injury at Crystal Palace
Chelsea's Olivier Giroud suffered an ankle injury at Crystal Palace (John Walton/PA)

Chelsea's task has been made more challenging by mounting injuries.

Striker Olivier Giroud suffered an ankle injury at Palace and could be replaced up front by Alvaro Morata at Stamford Bridge. The full extent of Giroud's injury is still to be made public.

Eden Hazard has been deployed as a 'false nine' recently, but injuries to Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back), Pedro (hamstring) and Callum Hudson-Odoi (hamstring) may necessitate the Belgian playing his more customary left-wing role.

Cesc Fabregas (neck) also missed the Palace win, when his ingenuity might have helped break down the Eagles defence.

As it was, David Luiz stepped into midfield to deliver a lofted pass from which N'Golo Kante scored the decisive goal.

Kante's movement was something manager Maurizio Sarri wants to see more of, from Ross Barkley and Loftus-Cheek, in particular.

"It's about the movement of the midfielders," Sarri said.

"It's very important for us when we have to play against opponents very low, where the strikers and wingers find it hard to find space.

"We have to work on Loftus and Barkley on this. Loftus, especially, is a very great player with the ball, but he can improve a lot in his movement without the ball."

Alonso added: "We have to be even more patient, move the ball from side to side to create spaces to attack them."


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Maurizio Sarri on the touchline during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Crystal Palace on November 4, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22183150104057
2Manchester CityMan City22172359174253
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs22160646222448
4Chelsea22145340172347
5Arsenal22125546321441
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd22125544321241
7Watford229583232032
8Leicester CityLeicester229492625131
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham229493032-231
10Everton228683331230
11Wolverhampton WanderersWolves228592328-529
12Bournemouth2283113142-1127
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2275102430-626
14Crystal Palace2264122028-822
15Burnley2263132343-2021
16Southampton2247112339-1619
17Cardiff CityCardiff2254131941-2219
18Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2246121631-1518
19Fulham2235142049-2914
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2225151337-2411

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