Despite Chelsea currently holding the third best record in the Premier League with 23 goals conceded, the central pairing in SW6 never seems far away from the lips and keyboards of the Chelsea faithful. Whether it’s David Luiz, Ethan Ampadu, Antonio Rudiger, or Andreas Christensen, opinions collide on who is the strongest pairing.
Throughout the 2018/19 season, its been David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger consistently named as the central defenders in Chelsea’s starting XI’s every week. Ethan Ampadu and Andreas Christensen have found time in this position predominantly in the cup competitions, doing well for the most part when featured. Christensen’s playing time is slowly creeping up in recent weeks, alongside the murmurs that Rudiger is suffering a dip of form. Despite, Luiz’s recent mistake(s) against Bournemouth, it seems many are happy for him to continue at CB, whilst Ampadu’s current focus is being trained by Sarri as a backup regista to Jorginho. So, who at CB? Rudiger, or Andreas Christensen?
Source – Chelsea News
Antonio Rudiger – Joined Chelsea in July 2017 for £29 million from Roma on a five-year deal. 75 appearances for Chelsea with 4 goals, current German international with 29 caps and 1 goal. Been described as “tall, quick, and athletic defender who is comfortable with the ball at his feet.”
Andreas Christensen – Joined Chelsea in February 2012 at the age of 15 from Brøndby on a free transfer. 57 appearances for Chelsea with 0 goals, current Danish international with 23 appearances and 1 goal. Been described as “Mature on the ball, fantastic passing ability, extremely calm presence.”
As seen above, both players resemble contrasting playing styles and offer different outlooks on how to defend. Rudiger, the aggressor of the two, has become popular amongst the Chelsea faithful for his warrior-like persona, evident leadership skills, and set-piece threat. Christensen on the other hand, provides a more calming presence, advantage in technical ability, and a somewhat home-grown/academy kid love from the fans. On the topic of academy kid, here’s a fine quote on Christensen from the last player to have a significant career coming out of the Chelsea academy:
“He should be hungry to take my place. Believe me, I am sure that he will be a top footballer and one of the future men for Chelsea.” – John Terry, 2014.
Source – Brilla.net
Antonio Rudiger (2018/19 Season as far) –
- 37 Appearances
- 6 Yellow Cards
- 3.1 Aerial Duals Won Per Game
- 91.4 % Pass Rate
- 6.89 – WhoScored Rating
Andreas Christensen (2018/19 Season as far) –
- 22 Appearances
- 1 Yellow Card
- 2.2 Aerial Duals Won Per Game
- 93.7% Pass Rate
- 6.84 WhoScored Rating
Source – Express.co.uk
As seen above, Rudiger has played significantly more than Christensen throughout this current season. On the same note, the reason this particular subject is being discussed, (and the reason I am writing on it) is due to Rudiger’s apparent lack of form recently, and Christensen’s timely stronger performances recently against Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield Town. Yes, I am aware Christensen has played against lower-level opposition in comparison to Rudiger, however, you can only play what’s in front of you (Many Chelsea fans would take a 5-0 win in the Premier League no matter the opposition, especially after the previous fixture.)
Personally, I believe both players will prove fundamental in Chelsea’s immediate and long-term future. Rudiger has been a paramount feature in the side since 2017, and at only 25 years old, has his best years ahead of him. On the flip side, Christensen has proven extremely patient in his approach since being in West London, and with evident signs of his talent in the 2017/18 season, I believe he deserves his chance to partner David Luiz for now. In doing so, he can begin to capitalize on the potential seen by many in the Chelsea camp. You never know, we may be talking about the same two players forming the center back pairing for Chelsea for many years to come, starting sooner rather than later.
Andreas Christensen deserves his chance.
Written by Dan McCarthy @maccasport