Chelsea secured their first win under Thomas Tuchel on Sunday, defeating Burnley 2-0 at Stamford Bridge, lifting them to within six points of the top-four
Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards heaped praise on Chelsea duo Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso following the Blues’ 2-0 win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
The victory was nothing more than what Chelsea deserved, with them dominating the entirety of the match against Sean Dyche’s side, who arrived in west London off the back of three straight wins in all competitions.
Having had the chance to spend a few more days on the training ground with his players since Wednesday evening’s goalless draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tuchel’s selection raised eyebrows, as he once again deployed a 3-4-2-1 system, with Hudson-Odoi and Alonso, who has quickly replaced Ben Chilwell in the team since the German’s arrival, acting as the wing-backs.
Although both Hudson-Odoi and Alonso have not seen an awful lot of regular first-team football this season, they appear to have been given a new lease of life under Tuchel, with the pair impressing massively against Burnley in the wing-back roles.
“Hudson-Odoi was the star of the show and he’s still only 20-years-old,” Richards told BBC Sport during Sunday evening’s Match of the Day 2. “He just gets better and better every time I see him.
“Just look how wide he is, and he’s got everything for this wing-back position, because he can drive at people and he’s got the intelligence to get it round the corner and he sees Azpilicueta coming and it’s a great finish.
“There’s going to be times where it’s going to be clustered, you need to have a good crosser into the box which he’s got. You talk about dribbling, we all know he can do one-v-one.
“In these dangerous areas you’ve got to run in behind. When you make them diagonal runs, as a defender it’s so difficult because you’re facing the ball, someone goes in behind and it creates all sorts for Chelsea.
“I didn’t know how they were going to fit because they’ve got Reece James. Hudson-Odoi, because he’s so good at taking people on one-v-one, and he’s going to have loads of space out that side, you’ve got to have more than just be able to cross the ball.
“For that role, he’s absolutely perfect.”
Hudson-Odoi’s left-sided counterpart also received special praise from Richards, with the former Aston Villa defender insisting the role is “made” for him.
Richards continued: “On the left side the role is made for Marcos Alonso. He was hugely successful under Antonio Conte, scored a lot of goals in their title winning season.
“The technical quality of the goal was so high. The two goals were from defenders, but you wouldn’t know it from how they’ve controlled, brought it down on his knee and it’s a high class volley.
“I’m sure he’ll mix it up (the full-backs), Ben Chilwell is an outstanding player in his own right so it’s great to have a squad at your disposal that’s got two quality players in every position, that’s a manager’s dream.
“Coming in as a manager mid-season is really hard because you don’t know your best team and you’re figuring that out on the job.
“The beauty is if he can do that while winning, it’s certainly going to take the pressure off.”