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4. Andreas Christensen


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Andreas Christensen defends controversial Chelsea loan system: 'They don't just abandon you... I'm a better and tougher player now' http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4731906/And

Any argument about Azpi in the bench should stop immediately. He's one of the first names on the team sheet. 

Nah mate, I think you're overestimating Rüdiger and underestimating Azpi in that regard. Rüdi hit a few nice cross-field passes, okay that's great, but I remember Azpi doing the same many times, not t

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2 hours ago, NikkiCFC said:

Happy anniversary! 

Today is exactly 4 years since his last goal for any club. 

That may be true, however if he continues to play like he is currently there is no need to for him to score goals. That is the job of the WB's, CM's, AM's and CF's. 

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3 minutes ago, King Kante said:

That may be true, however if he continues to play like he is currently there is no need to for him to score goals. That is the job of the WB's, CM's, AM's and CF's. 

But wouldn't it be nice if our central defenders can score!? Only Silva and Zouma have done so this season. Rudiger and Christensen haven't done it. It's always good if the CBs can score the goal or two. We used to have plenty of those with Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Carvalho etc.

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2 hours ago, Jason said:

But wouldn't it be nice if our central defenders can score!? Only Silva and Zouma have done so this season. Rudiger and Christensen haven't done it. It's always good if the CBs can score the goal or two. We used to have plenty of those with Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Carvalho etc.

It is nice to have but if your CB's and GK are contributing 2 goals conceded in 11/12 games or whatever and one was an own goal. I am happy for them not to score and keep that sort of record going.

Of course, goals are handy but I want my CB's to defend. If they do that to a high level, getting the odd goal is way down my priority list. 

 

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3 hours ago, nyikolajevics said:

Been nominated for player of month in Premier League. Who would have thought?

Well, I for one always maintained that he was our best (non-Silva) CB from a technical and tactical standpoint.

The problem with him was always mentality, which I will admit I did worry he wouldn't be able to sort at times. 

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Chelsea should sign a new contract with him. He deserved it. Think about it: why did we let Tomori go to Milan on loan if he was better than Christensen. 

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There was one moment at 1-0 where it looked like bale running at full pace had broken away but AC caught up with him, stayed calm and pushed him so wide his cross ended up nowhere. Really impressed me remaining so calm at neck breaking pace and having the awareness to allow the vain cross instead of risking a block or tackle. 
After the cl final I really think he has turned a corner. I was a bit nervous when he came in given his history of nerve issues but he kept Thiagos level all night and has not put a foot wrong since . 

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Andreas Christensen has not only come of age, he's turned into a different kind of beast

The Great Dane could help Chelsea in a number of positions moving forward

https://siphillipstalkschelsea.substack.com/p/comment-andreas-christensen-has-not

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Looking at the face of Andreas Christensen when he thundered in a long range shot for Denmark last week as they thrashed Russia, I saw a different look in the eye of the Great Dane.

The ‘Danish Maldini’ as he has rightfully earned the tag of, had the look of a beast in his eye, a different kind of beast.

Gone are the days when Christensen needed to run to the toilet before a match as a result of bad nerves, gone are the days of him being pushed off the ball too easily, gone are the days of him looking like a rabbit in headlights.

This rabbit has turned into a lion, and he roars on the regular whenever he is on the pitch now.

Christensen went on the help Denmark thrash Wales after thrashing Russia playing as a centre midfielder, and now he is looking to go all the way with his nation, and who is to argue with him in the form he is in?

He has grown physically as he comes of age, and he has turned from a boy to a man, and finally showing the full potential that so many believed him to have.

He was touted as the next John Terry by many in the academy when he was coming through the ranks, and he is finally showing us why.

Christensen now plays with confidence, swagger, style, and full of quality. His form since January has been immense, and he may well help solve a couple of positions that Chelsea might need filling this summer.

The way he is playing as a defensive midfielder for Denmark right now could even put him as an option to replace Billy Gilmour at Chelsea, who looks set to join Norwich City on loan.

He could play primarily as a centre back, but fill in to midfield as well, as he has shown his qualities there as well.

Chelsea are looking to tie him up to a new contract as soon as he is back from the Euros, and this will be as bigger move as any new signing in his positions that’s for sure.

Simon Phillips

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16 minutes ago, NikkiCFC said:

Why is no one agitating for Chris getting ballon d'or if Denmark win EURO? 😁

Emerson to win it after Italy win euros lol

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2 hours ago, Magic Lamps said:

Emerson to win it after Italy win euros lol

In all seriousness we could do with Emerson having a couple of barn stormers in the next two games to raise his chances of a transfer. 

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Christensen finally blossoming into the elite modern defender Chelsea’s academy staff believed he could be

https://theathletic.com/2685918/2021/07/03/christensen-finally-blossoming-into-the-elite-modern-defender-chelseas-academy-staff-believed-he-could-be/

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Denmark’s emotional Euro 2020 campaign transformed in the space of a handful of wild seconds in the 79th minute against Russia in Copenhagen last month.

Thomas Delaney swung in an inviting cross from the left flank and Martin Braithwaite met it with a firm header, which was parried away by Matvei Safonov. Jens Stryger Larsen chased down the rebound and squared it for Simon Kjaer, whose close-range shot forced another save. A half-clearance sent the ball rolling out of the Russia penalty area, and there was barely any time to register incredulity at the ambition of the man sprinting forward to strike it.

Andreas Christensen has never scored for Chelsea, and only attempted three shots from outside the box since making his senior debut for the club in October 2014. Yet there wasn’t even a trace of doubt or hesitation in his mind as he unleashed his effort, hard and rising, towards the Russian goal. It flew into the net just beyond Safonov’s outstretched right arm, nowhere near the corner but unstoppable nonetheless. One of the moments of the tournament, and the goal that put Denmark on course for the knockout stage.

He wheeled away, screaming and beating his chest as Parken Stadium erupted, before being mobbed by ecstatic team-mates and coaches. Some gleefully pulled at their ears; far from making fun of Christensen’s appearance, it was a reference to their team-mate winning the Champions League — the cup with the big ears — with Chelsea a few weeks earlier.

The goal and the celebration both served to underline what an incredible summer Christensen is having, and what a remarkable position of strength he now holds in his career. His contract at Chelsea expires in the summer of 2022 and sources have told The Athletic that the club have initiated talks about an extension, but director Marina Granovskaia has little leverage in the discussions. Now 25, Christensen has blossomed into the elite modern defender that the academy staff at Cobham always believed he could be, and his ascent has been to the benefit of club and country.

At Stamford Bridge and beyond, his stock has never been higher.


“It didn’t start great,” Christensen admitted to The Athletic in May when asked about the coaching change in January that transformed Chelsea’s season. He had not been playing under Frank Lampard, and any optimism about what the arrival of Thomas Tuchel could mean for his fortunes was swiftly undermined by his omission from the German’s first match-day squad to face Wolves. The new boss did, however, pull him aside to explain his thinking, setting the tone for a more positive relationship.

“He came to me straight away and said that he’d just got there and it was hard to change something,” Christensen added. “He kind of had the team in mind that he was going to play just because of that. But he said, ‘After that, you just have to prove yourself’. I worked hard and he kept true to that word.”

Tuchel demonstrated his faith in Christensen by relying on him in big moments as Thiago Silva’s veteran body creaked in the final stretch of the season. He played a key role in clean sheets against Tottenham, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and Real Madrid, displaying the kind of assurance under pressure that had been too often lacking from his game since Antonio Conte’s tenure. Those who know him have told The Athletic that Chelsea returning to a back three has been an important factor in his revival, but so too has been feeling the trust of the coach.

Then there was the Champions League final itself. Silva limping off the pitch in tears after 39 minutes might have derailed a team without such high-calibre depth, but Christensen adjusted to the intensity of the occasion and the tactical demands of the opponent seamlessly. His unshakeable composure was particularly valuable in the anxious final minutes, when lively substitute Gabriel Jesus led Manchester City’s desperate search for an equaliser.

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand had offered Christensen the chance to take a few days off and join up with the national squad a little later following his Champions League final exertions, but he turned it down. This is a tight group of players, bound by friendship as well as competition — highlighted by the team’s instinctive forming of a protective shield around the stricken Christian Eriksen in their Euro 2020 group opener against Finland — and he could not wait to be reunited with them.

What has transpired since has turned Denmark into the best story of the tournament, and Christensen has been one of their best players. Initially deployed alongside Kjaer at the heart of a back four, Hjulmand’s shift to a more Chelsea-like 3-4-2-1 formation in Eriksen’s absence has pushed him to the right of a three-man defence, with the freedom to push up into midfield depending on the circumstances of the game. It is a role that has helped him showcase all of his best qualities.

Midway through the first half against Russia, Denmark found themselves in trouble: Aleksey Miranchuk has broken from midfield with the ball and generated a very promising overload situation in attack, with options left and right. Christensen is in a reasonable defensive position, but has his work cut out to see off the danger:

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He begins by veering towards Miranchuk, blocking off any passing angle to the left and forcing the Russia playmaker to offload the ball to his right, where Roman Zobnin is available:

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As soon as Miranchuk passes the ball, Christensen darts back to his left. Zobnin’s quick attempted pass to the runner on the left is poor, but his window was narrowed by the Chelsea defender’s movement. He sticks out a leg and deflects it behind for a corner:

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Russia’s low block challenged Denmark’s defenders to make more complex decisions with the ball at their feet, and Christensen was up to the task. Here he shapes to play a pass right to Daniel Wass, with two opponents closing him down…

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…but instead he turns sharply, losing one of the Russia players pressing him and giving him space to dribble infield, where a potential pass forward to Thomas Delaney presents itself:

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On this occasion, Christensen decides the middle of the pitch is too crowded, and another sharp shift of the hips opens up a pass out to Joakim Maehle, with space to advance down the left flank:

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Later in the first half, as Russia attempt to press higher, Christensen spots a sea of space in the middle of the pitch and drifts into more of a Jorginho position, enabling him to receive a forward pass from Kasper Schmeichel on the half-turn:

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He advances into the Russia half and picks the right moment to shift the ball to his left, where Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg also has space ahead of him and Maehle on the overlap:

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Positional versatility has been a theme of Christensen’s career, and contributes to his calm quality on the ball. He began his football journey as a skilful forward in Brondby’s academy, before moving back into midfield and ultimately defence in his teenage years. It was no surprise, then, that Hjulmand picked him to push up and nullify Aaron Ramsey — as well as provide a foundation for Denmark’s own possession play — in a 4-0 win over Wales in the round of 16 last week.

In the early minutes, he frustrated Wales’ attempts to press high, picking sharp passes through their lines. Here he decides to slip the ball between two opponents to Braithwaite, in a pocket of space on the halfway line with Joe Allen trying to close him down:

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Christensen’s pass is on target, Braithwaite shields it from Allen, and the ball runs through to Stryger Larsen with space to advance:

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A few minutes later, not even a sprinting Daniel James can prevent Christensen from playing a first-time pass around him into the feet of Hojbjerg:

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Christensen also pressed like a midfielder at times against Wales. Here he is tracking Joe Morrell infield in the opposition half:

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Morrell is eventually forced to pass backwards, with Christensen only returning to his more defensive position once the ball has been unloaded:

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In the second half, Christensen receives an awkward pass in the air, with three Wales players set to converge upon him:

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By shaping to pass back to Jannik Vestergaard, he loses Ramsey, as well as opening up a forward pass into the feet of Mikkel Damsgaard:

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Christensen combined his midfield duties with his more traditional defensive instincts against Wales. Here, a couple of minutes later, he is forced to scramble as Vestergaard overruns the ball and loses it in the opposition half, sparking a counter:

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He reacts quickly, sprinting back 40 yards to track Ramsey. The Juventus midfielder is forced wide and ultimately clips in a hopeful low cross that Kjaer is well placed to clear:

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Christensen’s ability to step up the pitch with and without the ball has given Denmark a new tactical dimension in this 3-4-2-1 system, as well as a possible route to the Euro 2020 final.


Even if Denmark’s adventure goes no further, Christensen will go into next season with his stock further enhanced. Chelsea have several big decisions to make about the defenders who helped Tuchel deliver the Champions League — Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger are also in the final year of their deals — but given his age and development, Christensen is arguably the most pressing.

All the indications are that Christensen is happy at Chelsea. “I’m in this for the long run and I always have been,” he said in April. “I feel like this is my second home. Denmark will always be my home, but Chelsea will always be my place.”

His performances for club and country in recent months have given him a great opportunity to finally cement himself as a regular starter at Stamford Bridge, and the ticking down of his contract presents a chance for him to ensure he is paid like one too. Christensen has matured into one of Europe’s most accomplished ball-playing centre-backs, and it’s now up to Chelsea to keep him around.

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