While Marcos Alonso was getting destroyed by Ken Sema of Premier League side Watford, Ola Aina was in tremendous form as Torino mauled Empoli by three goals to nothing in the Serie A on boxing day. Ola Aina put in a 90 minutes shift with a 8.0 rating; joint highest with goalscorer Nicolas Nkoulou, per whoscored.com .
The young Nigerian, who is on loan from Chelsea, played as a left back, but can also be deployed on either side of the pitch defensively; even as a midfielder. He has made just 12 appearances in the league, four of those as a substitute, but consistently shows improvements in his numbers; more than can be said of the 27 year-old Alonso.
The Spaniard has picked up more minutes in Maurizio Sarri’s set up but significantly his best numbers have come in terms of clearance – side by side Aina’s. Aina has played 486 minutes less than Alonso – of a total (1212) – but has made more tackles [ 2.1 – 2.2], more interceptions [1.1 – 1.4]. Indeed the 22 year-old still aspects of his game he needs to improve on if he hopes to earn a first team spot at Chelsea or even bigger European sides, but his current numbers shows he’s good enough to rival Alonso.
He could thrive under Sarri if given the opportunity and perhaps even own the position; emulating club legends Ashley Cole, Celestine Babayaro in the process. But at the moment he’s getting game time, improving with each match and his development is on a steady course in Italy, something the Chelsea Manager should be impressed with.