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This is Christensen’s make or break season at Chelsea

Andreas Christensen has always been a topic of the Chelsea fanbase, lauded by some, and despised by others, one thing most fans have agre...

Andreas Christensen has always been a topic of the Chelsea fanbase, lauded by some, and despised by others, one thing most fans have agreed on is that he had the potential to be a top-class CB, the only concerns the fanbase have is his physicality, he is a lightweight Centre back which he usually makes up for it with his reading of the game and ball-playing ability, but these days that’s not enough in the Premier League. Let’s take a look at where things went wrong for him. 

At Monchengladbach in his 2-year loan spell, Christensen excelled playing in the centre of a back 3 for the most part, he developed so much that it would have been criminal if Chelsea didn’t take him back into the first team, he also attracted interest from several clubs in the process including the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich which showed how good he became. He returned to Chelsea after his loan under Antonio Conte in the 2017/18 season and also excelled replacing David Luiz in the heart of Conte’s back 3 for most of the season, making 40 appearances in all competitions. Big performances against Manchester city (even though we lost) at home and Spurs away at Wembley amongst many more earned him Chelsea’s young player of the Season. He missed the FA Cup victory albeit to a back injury, of which he could have been in contention. Even Conte praised the Dane saying Christensen showed great maturity adding that he has “a lot of trust in Christensen. This player is a player for the present for Chelsea, and Chelsea's future for 10 or 12 years. He can also become the captain of this team in the future". 

 Although he had a sparkling 2017/18 season, a low for him came against Barcelona at home in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. He had a good game, helping Chelsea keep Messi and his contingent quiet for the most part, but a big error that led to Messi scoring, decided his performance in a lot of Chelsea fan's eyes, it broke Christensen’s confidence in the process. He didn’t have the best following games, his performances were simply not as good as before, but he still ended the season strong enough to win young player of the year. 

Then came Maurizio Sarri, the Italian tactician, for Chelsea’s 2018/19 season. Sarri has a preference for the players he trusts early on in his tenure and an unwillingness to drop them to adapt to his style, even when underperforming, players like Willian and Pedro, Luiz, at times Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, and Kovacic were under par for a good part of the season, and players like Christensen, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Loftus Cheek, and Emerson were the fans preference to start ahead of the previously mentioned names, but Sarri didn’t budge until the end of the season. Christensen like some of his teammates came back late from the world cup, so he wasn’t there first hand to impress his manager before his CB competitors. Sarri still had his preference and stuck by it for most of the season. Christensen simply did not have enough game time to continue to improve especially in the Premier League, which its physicality seems to be too much for Christensen these days. He played the most minutes of any outfield player in the Europa League and Chelsea ended up winning the competition with a masterclass in the final, but Christensen ended the league campaign with only 8 premier league appearances, simply not enough for a young player to grow. 

Lampard came in into the helm in the 2019/20 season and put his faith in him early on. Christensen started several Premier League games, and put in decent performances at the beginning of the season, he started the season the best out of our centre-backs, Zouma was in poor form and Tomori didn’t start a game in the league until against Sheffield United, the game only game Christensen was dropped for before the international break. After the break, he played the game against Brighton with Tomori as his centre-back partner and kept a clean sheet. Since then Tomori and Zouma were the more preferred partnership, coupled with his injury, he was out of action for over a month. Tomori took the mantle from him and worked his way to be a starter for the club. Christensen came back from injury but couldn’t displace the solid partnership formed by Tomori and Zouma. 

Lampard chose to trust him against Valencia in the Champions League, he wasn’t awful and certainly not the main issue as some biasedly pointed out, the issue was communication between the whole backline. Against Aston villa the next game he was class, but the match that then seemed to decide his fate with the fans and the manager was against Everton. It was a disaster performance as Chelsea’s defence crumbled, he along with his CB partner had a very bad day at the office, but fans seemed more focused on Christensen, even though Christensen was exposed physically and aerially and rightly criticised, his Centre-back partner was given more of a free pass after he weathered his early-season woes too and was in form, since then he hasn’t started a game, with the return of Toni Rudiger from injury, things haven’t got easier for the 23-year-old Dane, and with his latest exclusion from even a back 3 that he is comfortable playing against Spurs, Southampton and Arsenal, things might not be working for him, there are some fans also calling for him to be given more of a chance like Zouma was at the start of the season where Zouma was in awful form but more games made him comfortable and Tomori was also during our winning run recently this season. Given his talent, Christensen has all the quality to displace any CB he wants on his day, he needs to bulk up and show his talent and application in training, based on Lampard’s meritocracy regime to get his chances and take them in matches because this might be his make or break season for him in the Chelsea squad with the club being linked to new Centre-backs arrivals. It's up to him to show his mettle. 

Written by - Seun @SeunMobolaji
Edits by - Kristen @KristenPulisic

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