Chelsea football club have quite had a number of players hit brilliant form in 2021 and this is highlighted by their recent performances under Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League last season and the UEFA Super Cup at the beginning of the season. The Blues have also had an impressive start to the new season, winning their first 2 games and drawing their last game before the international break away at Liverpool while playing with 10 men.
Danish defender Andreas Christensen has been one of the key performers for Thomas Tuchel’s charges and since the German took over he has been flawless at the middle of Chelsea’s back 3, the UCL final against Man City to say the least was just a testament of how good he is.
Christensen took the form from last season into the Euros for Denmark and he was arguably his country’s best player throughout the tournament as they fought all through to the semi-final, a form which Christensen has continued with this season by remaining flawless at the back for both club and country and has not conceded any goal from open play.
Christensen’s recent form is no surprise for those who have followed and monitored his growth over the past 5 years. The Cobham academy graduate spent 2 years on loan in Germany playing for Borussia Monchengladbach where he impressed and was once the Bundesliga side’s player of the season before returning to Chelsea.
Upon his return to Chelsea, Christensen was given a big chance by then manager Antonio Conte as he almost instantly became a regular after the Italian coach fell out with David Luiz. The Dane held his own at the middle of Chelsea’s back 3 and despite the team having a below par season, they were able to win the FA Cup before Conte’s departure in the summer of 2018.
Maurizio Sarri arrived to take over as manager for the 2018/19 season which meant David Luiz got a new lease of life at Chelsea and the Brazilian immediately displaced Christensen as a regular at the heart of the Chelsea defence with Sarri seeing Rudiger and Luiz as his ideal centre-back partnership. Christensen got an opportunity to shine in the Europa league final though as he partnered with David Luiz at centre-back in place of an injured Antonio Rudiger and Chelsea were 4-1 winners on the night against Unai Emery’s Arsenal.
Frank Lampard took over in the summer of 2019 after Maurizio Sarri’s resignation and a transfer embargo meant Chelsea could sign no new player and Lampard had to stick with the available players plus some of the fringe players and academy players who were returning from their respective loan spells. Andreas Christensen seemed to get a chance at first and further boosting his chances of featuring regularly was the injury to Antonio Rudiger which the German had nursed from the previous season into the 2019/20 season but Christensen had his own injury issues which had incessantly disturbed his infant Chelsea career right from the season under Conte and this saw the young Dane eventually fall down the pecking order behind Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori. Even though he got more chances in the second half of the season, Christensen’s performances were quite below par and he was regularly used alongside long-term injury returnee Antonio Rudiger as scapegoats for Chelsea’s defensive woes under Lampard.
Last season was where Christensen began to make the best case for himself. His quality has always shown through and Lampard always picked him whenever he was fit but he didn’t quite hit high standards and neither him nor Antonio Rudiger could displace the centre-back pairing of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma.
Frank Lampard got sacked in January 2021 and Thomas Tuchel took over the reigns from the former Chelsea midfielder. This meant a new opportunity for some of the players who were in the fringes under Lampard and Christensen who was one of those players eventually got his chances when he had to be introduced as a 30th minute sub for an injured Thiago Silva in a premier league match away at Tottenham in early February. Christensen has not looked back since that time and he has looked like an established centre-back whenever he’s played.
“I know Thomas Tuchel believes in me. I have also played a big role since he came [to Chelsea] The most important thing is just that I have never given up.”
The 25 year old Dane hit a half century of appearances for his country during the break and he kept clean sheets in all 3 games he played in the past week on international duty. He dropped a Masterclass yesterday in his team’s 5-0 win over Israel as he completed 72 out of 76 attempted passes, made 3 clearances and 3 tackles and had a 5/6 success rate in aerial and ground duels put together.
Andreas Christensen in his last 22 games for club and country has been part of a defence that has conceded just 9 goals in the UCL, Premier League and the Euros. In 2021, he has played 36 games and has kept a staggering 24 clean sheets sheets which puts his clean sheet ratio at 66.6%. Quite unreal and he should probably be getting a lot more acclaim.
For a player who was initially described by many as lanky and lacking the physicality and brute of a premier league defender, he has really improved and silenced his critics and he now seems like more than just a ball playing centre-back as he’s evidently improved on his physicality and looks to have hit the gym lately.
Andreas Christensen is yet another testament of the success of the Cobham academy and he’s now fancied to play a big part in Chelsea’s season under Tuchel.
The Danish Maldini as he’s fondly called by Chelsea fans has not gotten the kind of praise players like Matthijs De Ligt, John Stones amongst others received from the media upon their rise but the Chelsea centre-back is already at a point of inevitability.