Who is the best centre-back partner for Rudiger? Chelsea legend analyses

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Chelsea’s defence has been abysmal this season. For all of Chelsea’s fine attacking play under Frank Lampard, the Blues have been let down by shambolic defending.

Chelsea fans have for so long waited for the return of Antonio Rudiger. The German international is Chelsea’s most experienced centre-back, but he only played 90 minutes football for the first time this season in the 2-1 win over Lille.

Rudiger has been sorely missed and his impact was felt on his return against Lille as he was paired with Kurt Zouma for the centre-back position.

Chelsea legend Pat Nevin has analysed who should be the best partner for Rudiger.

He wrote in his column for the official Chelsea website: “There was no dilemma for the manager when Rudiger declared himself fit. He came back into the side and seemed to be about as rusty as a brand new smartphone bought this morning. He was slick, fast, communicating well, very stylish in his play and he seemed to have no difficulty whatsoever in his recharged battery lasting the 90-plus minutes. You could argue he didn’t have much to do, but his reading of the play made it look easier than it might have been.

“It may well be the case that whenever he is fit it will be a battle between Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori as to who partners him each week. Right now I couldn’t say who will get the job on a semi-permanent basis and I suspect Frank isn’t 100 per cent sure either.

“Kurt is in possession, but maybe Fikayo would look like the more natural long-term solution from the outside but it isn’t always that simple. In that position it is about how the players and their abilities dovetail with each other. Sometimes you could do with players who are slightly different but have complimentary strengths.

“There is always the importance about understanding each other’s weaknesses and preferences to, and sometimes it can be best just to have to great friends supporting each other back there.

“If Toni stays fit we will find out the answer soon enough.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.