Limited by injuries and the emergence of Fikayo Tomori, Andreas Christensen has found himself restricted to less than 10 appearances so far this season. In fact, his start on against Valencia on Wednesday was just his 9th, and the first in almost exactly two months, since the 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion at end of September.
Alas, Christensen’s return did not eliminate Chelsea’s defensive frailties. If anything, it appeared to add to them while shifting Kurt Zouma to his weaker foot on the left side of the center back pairing. Tomori may have had his hiccups recently — who hasn’t? — but he had at least developed some semblance of understanding with Zouma.
Chelsea have kept just 1 clean sheet (with 16 conceded) in the 9 games Christensen has played. Just 3 in the other 12 isn’t great either (with also 16 conceded), but it’s a little bit better maybe?
There may not be an obvious solution here unfortunately.
Still, the 2-2 draw, (un)lucky as it might have been, keeps Chelsea well in the hunt for the Champions League knockout rounds. A win against Lille at home on the final matchday is all we need to advance. And that makes Christensen happy enough despite the way things ended at the Mestalla.
“We wanted to have a little bit more control at the end. But we hung in there and got a good result in a difficult place. Now it is up to ourselves at home to go through. I think we can be happy with that situation even though we wanted to finish it off here.
“Qualification would be massive for us. We look at ourselves as a team that belongs in the Champions League. That was the message before the game and was why we wanted to finish it off. We don’t want to wait but we had in our minds if it was tight at the end, we didn’t want to do anything stupid because we fancy ourselves at home. We will just look at ourselves.”
-Andreas Christensen; source: Evening Standard
By the time that match rolls around in a couple weeks, Chelsea could have Antonio Rüdiger back at long last. He won’t fix the issues by himself either, but he will be helpful.
As far as Christensen’s concerned, the last 18-20 months, since the spring of 2018, certainly have not been the best period in his young career. He will be 24 by the end of the season and will be entering the final two years of his contract. Tough questions will have to be asked, and perhaps some tough decisions will have to be made.