The Chelsea fans in the Transfer Tavern were left feeling frustrated on Saturday when they saw Gary Cahill was set to start for the Blues again. Despite poor form this season, the Englishman has been a regular under Antonio Conte, and that’s been a bone of contention for our resident Blues.
It came as no surprise, then, that the Blues suffered yet another defensive collapse against Southampton – with only a late comeback saving them from a humiliation against the relegation battlers.
Though Cahill wasn’t entirely to blame, the defender is clearly not the strongest member of the Chelsea backline, and so our landlord thinks that Antonio Rudiger simply must return to the fold against Burnley this evening.
It took Rudiger a while to adapt to life in England, but over the last few months, he has gone from strength to strength. The 25-year-old, who is rated at £36 million by Transfer Markt, possesses incredible strength and tackling ability, making him a real force at the back. Alongside both Andreas Christensen and Cesar Azpilicueta, he has formed a solid partnership – and that has benefitted Chelsea over the last few months.
In contrast to Cahill, the German, who has 23 caps for his country, also offers brilliant pace and agility. As he ages, Cahill has become less and less mobile and that has hurt his game, and whilst John Terry, for example, was able to adapt, Cahill hasn’t quite been able to do that yet.
Not to mention, mistakes have become an increasingly common part of the Englishman’s game, with errors at the back costing the Blues on more than one occasion so far this season. The Blues cannot risk another defensive collapse like that.
This evening, then, Chelsea cannot take Burnley lightly. They are challenging for a European finish for a reason, and so Conte must pick his strongest team. Undoubtedly, his strongest team includes Antonio Rudiger at the foot of the defence.
Chelsea fans – thoughts?
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