Antonio Rudiger’s return to first-team action on Saturday certainly gave the defence a boost, as Chelsea snuffed out Wolverhampton’s attack with relative ease. In the first half.
It was a different story after half-time however, and while the game state may have had something to do with it — Chelsea up big and relaxed — the Blues gave up a pair of goals in the second half, continuing the rather concerning trend from the first month of the season.
The difference? One obvious one was the absence of Rudiger, who was forced off at the half. And unfortunately it was not a match-fitness issue, but rather another injury concern, as head coach Frank Lampard explained afterwards.
“He’s had a groin issue which he bothered when he ran off the pitch near me. He slipped on to the metal which made him slide and adjust himself. Hopefully it’s not too bad. It was more of a precaution because he felt a bit of pain, so we’ll assess it over the next couple of days.
“It’s a quick turnaround [for Tuesday] but hopefully [he’ll be alright].”
- Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Rudiger had just come back from the knee surgery, so hopefully his substitution was indeed just out of an abundance of caution so as to not aggravate any muscles that have not been used to match action since last season. We cannot afford to lose him for any significant length of time, especially with the busy schedule ahead.