‘Getting very dangerous’: Azpilicueta says Chelsea teammate has improved so much at set-pieces

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, has enhanced his influence in the final third, particularly from corners and free kicks, according to Cesar Azpilicueta.

The skipper praised Rudiger’s improved performance in dead ball situations, according to the club website.

The influence of the German international in the penalty area was clear against Tottenham Hotspur last night.

How did the match pan out?

Thomas Tuchel’s side flew across town for the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, with a two-goal advantage from the reverse fixture.

Despite the fact that the Spurs needed a speedy start, the Blues were the first to get going.

They dominated possession, conceding only a few touches to Antonio Conte’s side.

They gained the lead thanks to a set-piece, despite their smooth passing and rapid movement.

(Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

Rudiger on hand (and on head)

Mason Mount’s whipped corner enticed Pierluigi Gollini off his line, but the Tottenham goalkeeper completely missed his punch.

Instead, with his back to the goal, Rudiger was able to deflect the ball into the net.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

“He’s getting very dangerous, scoring goals,” said Azpilicueta of his teammate’s danger in the opposing area.

“He is a great threat on set-plays and in this game he made the difference with the goal and, of course, with his defensive contribution.

“Toni has developed really well since he arrived. He has had a very big impact. Now he’s even a big threat on set-plays, which is amazing.

“The aggression that he has, the way he plays with the ball, it’s a pleasure to have him in our team.”

Set-piece specialist

Spurs, or any Premier League team, should be aware of Rudiger’s disruptive attitude.

Whether defending his own treasures or attacking someone else’s, his entire game revolves around being deadly and dominant.

He scored a goal similar to the one he scored against Leicester City yesterday earlier in the season.

The 28-year-old’s 6ft2inch frame is impossible to ignore, yet Tottenham gave him a run and jump to put Chelsea ahead on Wednesday.

Rudiger’s threatening demeanor will be dearly missed if he departs the club in January or throughout the summer.

All we can do now is sit back and enjoy the show, appreciating the excellence while it lasts.

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