In a bid to keep Chelsea’s top-four dreams alive, Maurizio Sarri took a couple of calculated risks against Manchester United.
He gambled with starting both Antonio Rudiger and N’Golo Kante, with neither seemingly 100% fit. Kante’s worked perfectly, but the gamble on Rudiger backfired badly.
During the second half, the German limped off the field after picking up another knee injury. It looked like a bad one and it doesn’t seem like he’ll play any more part this season. With crucial games in store during the next few weeks to determine whether Chelsea’s season will be successful or a failure, Rudiger’s absence could bring lethal consequences.
The rock solid German’s probably been Sarri’s best defender this season, keeping out strikers with his emphatic nature and also perfecting the Italian’s distribution system. He’s helped the Blues keep 11 clean-sheets while averaging 1.1 tackles, 2.9 clearances, 1 interception per game (stats via WhoScored).
In their topsy-turvy defensive shape, Rudiger’s been the one to hold down the fort. He’s kept things calm in defence and while Andreas Christensen is undoubtedly a commendable prospect, he’s not really adapted to Sarri’s system well enough. The Dane’s made limited appearances this season and with difficult games ahead, could crumble under pressure.
Rudiger’s experience against German teams would’ve also given them the edge in the Europa League against the menacing Eichtranct Frankfurt, However, with his injury and the scan that awaits, Sarri now has to change up his plans for the crucial games ahead and just hope his side doesn’t crumble down during the German’s absence.
Chelsea fans, do you think Rudiger’s absence can be catastrophic? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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