Has Antonio Rudiger developed into one of the best centre-backs in the league?
Antonio Rudiger’s time at Chelsea hasn’t been the most straight forward.
After two successful seasons with Roma, Rudiger was signed for £29m by Antonio Conte.
But despite the hefty transfer fee, the Germany international failed to nail down a starting spot, with Conte instead chopping and changing his back-three.
With Cesar Azpilicueta being the only regular, Rudiger and a host of other defenders fought for the two spots.
Consequently, this rotation sometimes culminated in some terrible defensive displays:
But a change of manager seems to have worked wonders with Rudiger’s development.
Under Maurizio Sarri, Rudiger and David Luiz have played every Premier League game together.
And whilst there are still question marks over Luiz’s defensive solidity, there are no such questions around Rudiger.
He has been dominant in the air and solid in the tackle, and has looked capable against physical attackers.
One of his key attributes is his pace which, if any of Chelsea’s defenders make a mistake, allows him to mop up.
Many people believed that Rudiger’s key weakness was his skill with the ball at his feet.
He has never shown any real calmness in possession and as that is a requirement to play in Sarri’s system, people thought he might suffer as a result.
But Rudiger has clearly trained hard and has become more adept with the ball, turning him from a liability to an asset.
Therefore, on current form, behind Virgil van Dijk, Rudiger is definitely one of the Premier League’s best centre-backs.