It’s clear for all of us to see that Cesar Azpilicueta is a player who is struggling.
Not only is he in decline, he’s simply just not comfortable playing as a modern day right back. The demands of this role are different in the type of intensive style that Frank Lampard likes to play, and he just hasn’t got the attributes.
We have Reece James coming back to compete with him soon and trust me, he is the answer. I have no doubts about that.
Although he is on the verge of returning to full training, it will be a good few weeks before he will reach full fitness again.
So realistically we have a good 3-4 games at least where we need a temporary fix to our most problematic area and our weakest link.
Antonio Rudiger could be the short term fix there. He played at right back for Roma and for Germany. He’s more than comfortable playing there and understands the role.
Chelsea have Fikayo Tomori, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma who are all competing well for the centre back spot. Rudiger will be as well. But we needn’t stop game time for one of the other three for now, we can use Rudiger at right back.
He has the pace to get up and back, something Azpilicueta doesn’t. He has good long range passing ability, meaning he should be able to pick out strikers or switch play from wide positions. We know he is good defensively and under recovery (another area Azpiluctea is weak at), and we know he can run with the ball well.
He’s a solid passer, and will be fine receiving the ball in tight areas. He will certainly be much better at blocking crosses and dangers than Azpilicueta has been. He also has leadership and is very vocal, something else that we lack.
Don’t get me wrong, his best position is a centre back. But until James is in contention, he or even Tomori should be starting at right back over Azpilicueta, as much as I adore him.