Hello, old friend. Wednesday marks the first of two games that will see Antonio Rüdiger reunited with the Giallorossi. The 24-year old German international has been predicted to crack the starting 11 for Chelsea in this fixture, setting up an intriguing matchup with his former teammates.
To date, Rüdiger has made six appearances for Antonio Conte’s side on the season. In his appearances thus far, Chelsea have won four games, two of which were clean sheets. The former Roma man has been solid for his new team, for example, having a Tackle Success Percentage of 75%, which despite the small sample size, is a number tantamount to the other defenders on the squad. Obviously, one stat doesn't tell the whole story, but it is evidence as to how well Antonio has transitioned into the Premier League. Hell, he even notched an assist in their League Cup game in late September!
A quick search of Rudi on Twitter and you will clearly see the vast majority of Chelsea’s supporters would prefer him to take over for Gary Cahill on a more permanent basis. Rüdiger simply has all the physical tools that seem to thrive in the Premier League these days, tools that Cahill simply does not have.
In my opinion, the main takeaway from how quickly Chelsea supporters have fallen for Rudi is that Roma dropped the ball in letting him go. FFP concerns aside, the departure of Rüdiger has left a hole in defense that has yet to be properly filled thus far. The potential is there for this weakness in our team to be exploited tomorrow, as Kostas Manolas has been ruled out for the match. One can only hope that Federico Fazio and Juan Jesus will be up to the task of stopping Eden Hazard, Pedro, and Alvaro Morata.
In any case, it will be a pleasure watching Rudi take the field against the Giallorossi. The matchup between Edin Dzeko and Rudi is probably one they are both looking forward to, having faced each other countless times in training. In this writer’s opinion, I think Dzeko gets the edge.
Final Prediction: 1-0 Roma.