Toni Rudiger - Now irreplaceable at Chelsea?

Chelsea’s much talked about start to life under Frank Lampard has had everyone talking. We have seen glimpses of our potential but at the...

Chelsea’s much talked about start to life under Frank Lampard has had everyone talking. We have seen glimpses of our potential but at the same time have seen that with Gary Cahill & David Luiz gone, there is a real lack of leadership and let’s face it, absolute might in our defending which has led to some alarming moments at the back. One thing has been made clear to me in all this - Toni Rudiger is now irreplaceable. 

Yes it’s a big statement to make bearing in mind that Rudiger only came to the fore at Chelsea last season. Before that, he was brought in and found it difficult to make a real impact. The German defender had shown in Italy that he was flexible and could play as a full-back or through the middle which gives him an advantage other most and sure enough, last season he showed everyone the reason why Chelsea signed him.

He isn’t the biggest or has the most imposing frame for a defender but he is lean and fast which is always a bonus playing in that position. What surprised me more than anything was the fact that he is strong, he is imposing and he is not afraid to put himself about whilst at times flying into tackles that, if you were up against him, you would not want to go into.

For me, in my eyes anyway, he is pure out and out defender whose objective is to defend that 18-yard box as though his life depends on it, to then go and impose himself in the oppositions penalty box from set-pieces to hopefully score now and then. There is no questions being asked of him playing out of the back, no reason for him to move into midfield with the ball to start our counter-attacks. It’s all about the art of defending with that German efficiency installed within from a young age.

I believe (as stated on here previously this season) that Andreas Christensen has made one of those central defensive positions his own with his ability to read the game and play almost on the cover. His game isn’t about doing the dirty work but to try and stay one step ahead of his direct opponent to stop them which is why I believe playing next to Toni Rudiger gives us the perfect combination at the heart of our defence.

With Kurt Zouma’s shaky start against Manchester United (but better performances against Liverpool and Leicester last weekend) and the number of goals we have conceded, it’s clear for me anyway that he is not the answer at the moment in addition to Fikayo Tomori who needs exposure to the Premier League on a regular basis to find his feet before he is thrown in.

Toni Rudiger really, really impressed me last season with his desire and hunger to defend. He isn’t afraid to go one-on-one with his opponent, he will not duck out of any tackles and will impose himself in tight situations whether it’s defending balls into the box or to stand-up and hold his position on the edge of the box. As I said, his pace is an added bonus as he demonstrated numerous times coming out wide to close people down and to win the ball. Most importantly of all, he is a talker on the pitch and my god, do we need that at the moment!

That’s why I believe that Toni Rudiger has become irreplaceable at Chelsea and will, without doubt, make the position his own playing his part in the stable core of the team along with Kepa and N’Golo Kante who at the moment are classed as the same. If only we could now find a striker!


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