Andreas Christensen didn’t get ample game time in the league during Maurizio Sarri’s first season at Chelsea but did play the most minutes by any outfield player in the Europa League.
After impressing at the centre of Antonio Conte’s back three in 2017/18, Sarri’s preference of David Luiz as Antonio Rudiger’s partner in a back four cost Christensen a second year sealing his place as Chelsea’s new defensive leader.
Our tactical analysis of the Dane provides statistics of his 2018/19 season in the Europa League, assessing how he could be the key to a stricter blues defence next season.
The soft-spoken academy graduate is a mature player with an extremely cool head in high-pressure situations. He is an excellent reader of the game, making 1.5 interceptions and 2.3 clearances per Europa League game via who scored. Although not blessed with a hulking frame or blistering pace, 50% successful tackles and 2.7 aerials won per game is a decent return.
It goes without saying his palpable similarities with John Terry in that regard are very hard to ignore.
Christensen is very much a modern-day centre back, whose maturity is vital for a team that seeks to build up play from the back, against many attacks who press for the ball. With 73.3 average passes per game, he is comfortable on the ball and effective with 92.9% pass accuracy.
Having made history, alongside Ruben Loftus-Cheek, to become the first players to win a UEFA youth and UEFA senior competition; he was one of the main catalysts behind last season’s Europa League triumph. Christensen stamped his quality in a defence which conceded 10 goals in 15 games. He came up against many different strikers throughout the competition and gave a good account of himself.
In the final, he kept Arsenal’s lethal attack quiet. Winning three of five duels contested, registering 100% successful tackles, 92.3% accurate passes from 33 touches and one clearance and interception apiece.
At 23 years of age, Christensen should no longer be on the fringes of the Chelsea first team. After an impressive year under Conte and proving himself again in the Europa League, alongside the handful of minutes he got in the league (615); Christensen should be the lynchpin in Chelsea’s defence for another decade. His composure and brains would dovetail perfectly with Rudiger’s brawn, although he is no eccentric Luiz, he provides defensive security.
While David Luiz should be slowly eased into a squad leadership role, Chelse’s transfer ban was set to hinder any potential suitors. Sarri’s now uncertain future, however, already makes him one of the key players next season.
You have our word, Andreas Christensen is ready.