Graeme Le Saux paid Antonio Rudiger the highest compliment a Chelsea centre-back can receive by mentioning him in the same breath as John Terry.

Speaking to The Athletic, Le Saux was discussing the Blues tremendous defensive record under Thomas Tuchel, which Rudiger has played a massive part in.

The German international is now a stalwart of the rear guard, despite his contract situation suggesting anything other than committed.

Newcastle United v Chelsea - Premier League
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He has started all but one Premier League game this season, surrendering just three goals in the process.

JT or AR?

Chelsea are already on course to break their own record of fewest conceded in a single league campaign, set by Jose Mourinho’s 2004/05 title-winning team.

At the heart of Mourinho’s impenetrable fortress that term was Terry, who earned the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for his contribution.

Now, La Saux has seen similarities between the Stamford Bridge icon and one of their own current cult heroes.

Chelsea v Norwich City - Premier League
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“Rudiger is in his prime, someone who is so energetic and angry all the time — a good angry,” said the former Chelsea defender.

“He bangs into people and looks at them as if to say, ‘You want some?’. He’s intense.

“JT was like that. He’d dominate. When he went on the pitch, it was as if he got bigger, taller, wider.

 

“The job of a defender is to completely spook the attacker you’re up against. The best form of defending is intimidation.

“What better way to intimidate your future opponents than banging out result after result, clean sheet after clean sheet?”

Brilliant Blues all round

Of course, Rudiger nor Terry can claim all the credit for Chelsea’s past and present water-tight back-lines.

Mourinho also relied upon the awesome presence of Petr Cech in goal, Ricardo Carvalho alongside Terry, then William Gallas and Paul Ferreira at full-back.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group G - Chelsea v Anderlecht - Stamford Bridge
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Under Tuchel, the mighty Edouard Mendy keeps net, protected by a combination of Rudiger, Thiago Silva, Andreas Christensen or Trevoh Chalobah.

This modern group of players have all the skills to succeed their predecessor’s previous achievement.

At the moment, they are doing so in style.

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