Since then it has become obvious that the wing-back offers considerably more.
Reliable in and out of possession, technically excellent, tall and athletic, the 27-year-old has developed into a highly influential figure for Chelsea.
Indeed, Saturday’s opponents Leicester City should regard Alonso as one of Chelsea’s most potent goal threats.
Scoring three times in his last five appearances, and six goals overall this term, the Spaniard is Chelsea's joint-second top scorer in the Premier League.
Surging into the box to score twice from open play, Alonso's other four strikes have stemmed from set-pieces.
He has dispatched two direct free-kicks, as well as scoring a volley and a header when attacking dead-ball situations in the area.
Of late he has shown a greater appetite for shooting, exceeding his average seasonal stats in four of the last five matches.
Alonso is definitely someone the Foxes would be wise to keep close tabs on at Stamford Bridge.
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To help facilitate this, Conte has begun instructing one of his three central midfielders to pull towards the left in possession. Alonso then plays ahead of them.
So, reassured that he is not leaving a big hole behind him in a 3-5-1-1, Alonso is freed up to use his ability more often inside the final third.
If Chelsea form that shape at home to Leicester this Saturday, the visitors will need to find a way to shackle the bursts of a player who has become a serious attacking threat.