End of term report: Antonio Rudiger’s 2020/21

At the end of 2020, he had made just two Premier League appearances this season, filling in while Thiago Silva was rested for the victory at Newcastle United and home draw with Aston Villa. However, he featured more often in the Champions League, appearing in four of our six matches as we comfortably qualified top of Group E.

Defensive warrior

Almost overnight, Rudiger’s situation went from bit-part player to near ever-present, first being recalled by Frank Lampard in an attempt to halt our slide and then starting all but four league games under Thomas Tuchel.

Alongside Thiago Silva and Cesar Azpilicueta, he formed what was largely Tuchel’s preferred back-three for the remainder of 2020/21, with his pace, excellent positional sense and refusal to back down or accept defeat playing an important part as we conceded just two goals in 14 games at the start of our new head coach’s reign, even if one of those two was a Rudiger own-goal after a mix-up with Edouard Mendy.