Leboeuf says Chelsea 28-year-old was the only player who added 'a bit of craziness' vs Zenit

Frank Leboeuf identified Antonio Rudiger as the one Chelsea player who attempted to change the pattern of proceedings against Zenit yesterday.

Speaking on ESPN, Leboeuf criticised the Blues attacking output during their 1-0 Champions League victory last night.

Although Chelsea got their title defence off to a winning start, they did so at something of a slumber.

Zenit frustrated Thomas Tuchel’s team’s all evening, who only found a breakthrough thanks to the forehead of Romelu Lukaku.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Other than the Belgian’s first-ever European goal for the reigning holders, the game probably would have finished as a stalemate.

Stale is quite a decent way to describe the home side’s performance, broken up by random acts of Rudiger entertainment.

The 28-year-old defender went on one, particularly hair-raising slalom run that forced the Stamford Bridge crowd off their feet.

Rudi on a roll

It was moments of madness that were missing from Chelsea’s mission; too often did they revert to the safe pass or simple option.

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Leboeuf echoed this sentiment, suggesting more people should’ve followed in Rudiger’s footsteps.

“I found them (Chelsea) very well organised defensively and very strong,” said the former French centre-back.

“Even if at the end (Artem) Dzyuba for Zenit had a big chance, I found Chelsea were very structured, no problem.

“I’m worried about offensively. Rudiger was the only one with a bit of craziness.

“In football, you need someone who takes responsibility for some crazy acts for maybe trying to find something.

Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

“It was too polite; it was too thoughtful. Therefore, we didn’t have that craziness, we didn’t have that change of pace.

“It wasn’t convincing at the end, offensively.”

All about Lukaku

Quite often last season, Chelsea found themselves lacking in the final third as they did versus Zenit.

Luckily this chapter of the tale has a new hero to solve the penalty box problems.

Lukaku’s fourth in as many games for the Blues proved how important he already is to the project.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Yet, it now begs the question: how will Tuchel cope when the no.9 isn’t on the pitch?

Can he truly rely on Timo Werner?

Solutions need to be located because Lukaku simply cannot play every minute, however much the Chelsea faithful urge him to.

Buy another centre-forward in January? It could certainly be considered.

 Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.