Garth Crooks included Antonio Rudiger in his BBC Team of the Week for his Chelsea display against Manchester United yesterday evening.
Rudiger almost became the hero of the hour at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, but instead finished as the villain.
Chance came and went
With just a few seconds of the fixture remaining and the score in the balance at 1-1, the ball fell to the German unmarked at the back post.
It was an opportunity that any seasoned striker would’ve dreamt about.
Unfortunately for Chelsea, the cross really did land to the wrong person.
Had it been, say, Romelu Lukaku, Thomas Tuchel’s men may have walked away with all three points.
As it transpired, Rudiger ballooned his shot into the preverbal row z and the spoils were therefore shared.
This glorious miss will sadly define the defender’s night.
However, Crooks made a very good case for the centre-back, by focusing on the positives alongside the only real negative.
“He made a fabulous tackle in the first half which set the tone for his entire contribution to the match,” said the former Tottenham Hotspur striker.
“Rudiger loves a battle and the fixtures against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City are made for the likes of him.
“There are times, of course, when Rudiger is actually looking for confrontations even when they aren’t there – in which case he will create his own.
“He’s not averse to scoring the odd goal every now and then either, provided it’s on his head and he’s attacking the opposition’s goal.
“He was presented with a glorious chance during the closing minutes of the game against Manchester United and blasted the ball high, wide and handsome.
“Virgil van Dijk had a similar chance against Southampton and buried it. Two world-class defenders and both make my team of the week.”
Is Toni’s time nearly up?
Fortunately for Rudiger, he now has enough credit in the bank to quickly move on from that skewed strike.
He is arguably Chelsea’s most important player, if not their most consistent.
Without him, the rear-guard doesn’t look as effective and it is certainly a lot less intimidating.
All of which makes his potential departure even more upsetting.
Time is running out for the Blues to reach an agreement with Rudiger over a new contract.
At the moment, a differing opinion in wage demands is delaying the deal.
Fail to resolve the issue before the New Year and Chelsea will wave farewell to their German warrior.