Antonio Rudiger is rumoured to being very close to signing a new contract worth £120k per week. A fan-favourite since his arrival from Roma in summer 2017, the central-defender has featured in all Premier League matches so far this season for Chelsea.
An obvious favourite under Maurizio Sarri, the question is, just how important is Rudiger to the team and do his statistics prove he deserves the new contract?
Stick a head on it
Looking at the statistics, it’s pretty clear to see where Rudger’s strengths lie.
The German has won the highest number of headers in the team with 46. Whilst this is a tad unfair on Cesar Azpilicueta who is some way short of six-foot, Rudiger still comes out on top against David Luiz, with both hovering around the 1.9-meter mark (minus the hair).
What has improved dramatically over his two seasons at Chelsea is his attacking input. David Luiz is well-known for his ability to intercept and step out of defence, often starting attacks and going on charging runs. This is backed up by Luiz’s 17 interceptions so far this season, compared to Rudiger’s 13. However, when it comes to attempts on goal, it’s Rudiger who leads the way with 17.
His ability to cause chaos in the box due to his presence has helped the team massively from set-pieces, and has been rewarded with a goal to his name this season against Manchester United. Overall, Rudiger is dominant in the air and his partnership with Luiz has been pivotal in defending set-pieces.
His adaptability may also be key this season with his ability to play as an auxiliary right-back, should Azpilicueta play central or injuries hit him and Davide Zappacosta. Another improvement on his game is his composure and passing ability on the ball. Rudiger showed signs of this at Roma but has come into his own at Chelsea, particularly under Sarri’s style of play. The 25–year-old leads the way with 1153 passes, over 100 more than Luiz and exactly 200 more than Azpilicueta. However, more time of the ball can lead to a higher chance of a mistake. In this case, Rudiger is the only defender who has committed a major defensive mistake on the ball this season.
Now in his mid-twenties, Rudiger is also nearing the top of his game. Considering the absurd wages rival Premier League clubs pay defenders, £120k a week for a key player in his prime doesn’t sound too based in relative terms.
The statistics prove what most Chelsea fans already knew about Antonio Rudiger. The big German defender has been pivotal to Chelsea’s much-improved defence, and with David Luiz the team has a solid centre-back partnership. The opportunity to tie down a fan-favourite and key player shouldn’t be passed up, and his stats show that he is more than deserving of a wage rise.
If you love tactical analysis, then you’ll love the digital magazines from totalfootballanalysis.com – a guaranteed 100+ pages of pure tactical analysis covering topics from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and many, many more. Get your copy of November’s issue for just £4.99 here or preorder the first of TWO December issues right here.