‘Man Utd might be in great form but Chelsea have Giroud back’ – Rudiger on FA

The Red Devils are a match for the best sides but having the French striker confident and firing again has instilled the Blues centre-back with hope

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger concedes that facing Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday will be a tough prospect, but feels that Olivier Giroud’s return to scoring form puts the Blues in good stead ahead of the showpiece clash.

The Red Devils have been in imperious form since football’s restart and have gone on a 19-game unbeaten run since a 2-0 defeat at home to Burnley back in January.

Indeed, the addition of Bruno Fernandes in the winter transfer window, Paul Pogba’s return from injury and the form of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have the Old Trafford outfit looking a match for any side in the world.

Rudiger, however, feels that Chelsea have an ace up their sleeve in the guise of World Cup winner Giroud.

“I’m really looking forward to the game,” the centre-back told the German FA’s official website. “Man Utd are in great form – I mean, they haven’t lost in 18 or 19 games.

“They beat us twice in the league, too, so they’ll come into it with a huge amount of confidence.

“It’s going to be a tough fight, but the good thing for us is that Olivier Giroud is firing again. He struggled for a while and some had already written him off.”

Olivier Giroud Christian Pulisic Chelsea

Despite a storming start to the season on the back of a transfer embargo, the Blues’ form has suffered something of a dip of late, but Rudiger feels the Stamford Bridge side can still be happy with their campaign thus far.

“We’re on the right track but we also have two tough games ahead of us, against Liverpool and Wolverhampton,” he said. “The good thing is that [Champions League qualification] is in our own hands.

“Not many would have thought that we could be in third place in the table at this point and unfortunately we’ve dropped a few points. On the whole, though, we can be satisfied with the season.

“For me personally, the season didn’t start so well. There were a few injuries and aches and pains but I fought my way back into the team. I still don’t have the same strength as before, though. I have to – and want to – work on that.”

Rudiger was also asked about Germany‘s prospects of winning their next major tournament – the rescheduled Euro 2020 – but the Berlin-born 27-year-old feels that the young squad might not yet be at the peak of its powers.

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“We certainly have a lot of good young players,” he said. “Maybe it wasn’t so bad for us that the tournament was postponed due to the coronavirus.

“Niklas Sule will be back, as will Leroy Sane. Now we have to see how things go until the European Championship.

“To be honest, we are not among the top favourites. I think other teams are a bit ahead of us.”

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