The Statistical View: Antonio Rüdiger

 

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(Getty images)

Think back to the 9th of July 2017, the day Antonio Rüdiger was unveiled as a Chelsea player, (the less said about the video the better) many people were sceptical of the signing. The previous year Rüdiger had spent recovering and getting back to speed after suffering a serious ACL injury in Germany training before EURO 2016. If it wasn’t for the injury it was highly likely that Chelsea would have signed him that summer however it was a year later when Chelsea made their move.

 

How much is Antonio Rüdiger worth?

The most reliable place for transfer values is CIES Football Observatory, they combine multiple factors and give them an accurate transfer value in the current market. Chelsea signed Antonio Rüdiger for just under £32m and he is valued nearly double that by CIES with a current value of €70.2m (£60.6m). He is currently the most valuable central defender that Chelsea have amongst their ranks.

What the performance statistics say

So far this season Rüdiger has an average rating of 6.93 (WhoScored), which is the ninth best in the whole Chelsea team. Only one central defender has a higher average rating than Rüdiger and this is Cesar Azpilicueta (7.20). Rudiger ranks 82nd in the Premier League for average rating although this seems a long way from the top team performances are likely to have limited his impact this season. Despite ranking low in the league according to CIES performance indicator he ranks 104th for his performances over the last 6 months joint with PSG’s Marquinhos who is one of Europe’s elite defenders.

Comparison with Chelsea’s best

But, how does Rüdiger compare to Azpilicueta? Well, below you’ll see a comparison between the two. Overall the tool that CIES have claim that Cesar Azpilicueta is better by around 30 points.

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A comparison between Rüdiger and Azpilicueta (CIES Football Observatory)

The radar shows the comparison between Chelsea’s top two defenders and it’s clear to see which is a converted wing-back. Azpilicueta’s chance creation is much higher and exceptional in general for a central defender, this is mostly down to the early season partnership with Morata, a few months into the season they had the deadliest partnership in Europe. Currently, it is the joint best in the Premier League. Rudiger, on the other hand, is comfortably better in the “rigour” sector, this is the “ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents through robust duelling”. This isn’t surprising due to the difference in build between the two and the difference in aerial ability is the main reason for this. Overall the two have had very similar seasons which is very impressive for Rüdiger in his first season at the club.

Where does his best attributes rank amongst the rest of the league?

One of Antonio Rüdiger’s biggest strengths is his ability in the air, however, surprisingly he ranks join 62nd for aerial duels won per game with 2.3. Despite this, the only defensive team-mate to rank above him is Gary Cahill.

Rudiger ranks 13th in the whole league for pass completion with 89.1% pass completion, nearly 4% below the league leader Andreas Christensen. Rudiger also averages 3.3 long balls per game not only getting his team out of trouble defensively but instead putting them on the attack. Passing is one of Rüdiger’s best attributes and this emphasises that and should the next Chelsea manager change the system Rüdiger could be well suited to fit into a more attacking or possession based tactic.

The conclusion

Overall the stats show that Rudiger is one of the better defenders in the league and probably the second best at Chelsea (behind Cesar Azpilicueta). His first season has been a success and he is settling in well at the club. This season he has set solid foundations to build on at the club and should he improve on this he will cement himself as one of the better in the league and possibly Europe.

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