Good news ahead of tomorrow's crucial Champions League match against Lille! Centre back Antonio Rüdiger is in the squad for the first time since September!
Frank Lampard relayed the good news in today's pre-match press conference, and made it sound like Rüdiger is actually ready for proper action already.
“It’s good to have him back. He’s been training really well. He’s got a lot of his fitness work done, his injury has healed.
“It will potentially be difficult for him [to return after a long time out], but our guard against that was to give him a lot of work. We have managed to create some things behind the scenes here in training that look like matchplay, and some pure running as well. He has come through all that.
“You can only speak as you look at him, and he looks fit and ready to go, and I know he’s hungry. In terms of building him up, rightly so, he’s a good defender. People maybe overlook the fact we started the season with five big players all injured for a period of time. You do miss those individuals, so let’s see what he can add to us.”
Rüdiger has had some bad luck with injuries this year, missing the end of last season and the entire summer with a knee injury. He then picked up a groin problem in his only appearance for Chelsea so far this season, a 5-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, that was cut off at half-time. Hence why Lampard might still be a bit cautious. But the risk of Rüdiger suffering another injury or worsening a pre-existing problem might have to be overlooked for the potential benefits we need him to provide in the team’s struggling defence.
Should Rüdiger start, he would have to partner either Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen, as young Fikayo Tomori has been ruled out with a hip injury, which is a bit unfortunate. Neither Zouma nor Christensen covered themselves in much glory over the weekend.
“He’s got a tiny strain around his hip area, and it’s been bothering him for a little bit, so he’s taken out of it for a few days.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Olivier Giroud also missed training on Monday and has been ruled out, though Lampard did not offer any specific explanation in his case.