Andreas Christensen’s next Chelsea appearance will be his 20th of the season, at which point he will have reached ... half ... his total from the previous season, when he made 40 — and it surely would’ve been more if he had not hit that rough patch in terms of form and fatigue in early 2018. From Conte’s preferred player in a back-three to Sarri’s second-string in a back-four, it’s not been a banner season for the soon-to-be 23-year-old, with the associated transfer rumors to show for it.
But cooler heads prevailed in January, and since then, Christensen’s happiness has slowly returned. He’s still not really getting Premier League minutes, but with the Europa League knockout rounds occupying most midweeks, and prior to this week, no international breaks to spread the schedule out, the rhythm feels a lot different to him than in the first half of the season.
“[The season] has been a little up and down. It started low, but lately I have had several games that I have enjoyed. I had hoped I’d had more matches. Right now, it’s okay, it feels like there’s a fight every week. I have come into a good rhythm.
“I think it was difficult, because there was a lot of space between the matches. It was every third or fourth week. Now it feels like it is every week and more rhythm has come. I think I have played well, and I think I have performed well. That’s also what I’ve been told by the coach.”
Christensen acknowledges that competition for minutes has been fierce and that neither David Luiz nor Antonio Rüdiger have done much to lose the trust of the head coach. Other observers might disagree of course, but we know that the relationship between Christensen and David Luiz is very good, for example, so there’s every chance Christensen isn’t saying this just to be a good professional.
“I came in late [from the World Cup last summer]. The others have played super well, and then it’s hard to get in. I’ve tried to show myself as much as I can, and I think I’ve succeeded. But when they have played well, it is difficult.”
But for now, the situation is ... okay. As long as the Europa League campaign rolls on — and Chelsea do have a clear path to the final, facing Slavia Prague in the quarterfinals and then hopefully the winners of Benfica vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Christensen will be grooving to a solid rhythm of minutes. That won’t be enough next season, presumably, but next season is far far away and hidden behind many potential twists and turns (transfer bans, contract extensions, etc.). The focus is on the here and now.
“Right now it’s one day at a time. Especially because I have now started to focus on, I get my matches. Then I will continue to show myself. Right now I’m just focused on the games I get. [Now] I finally have a game almost every week for the first time in the season.
“Right now I enjoy it, and it is clear that we have got a transfer ban, which I don’t think is going to mean much to me. But that is not something I think about.”
-Andreas Christensen; source: BT.dk via Google Translate
Christensen is back in the national team and getting minutes there as well (60 last night against Kosovo), which is also making him happy. His Chelsea situation had affected his national team prospects in a negative way as well, and both are important to the 22-year-old. He had played a big role at the World Cup last summer, starting all four games as Denmark reached the knockout rounds, but then started just 2 of the next 6 in various international competitions and friendlies (with 1 substitute appearance).
May his happiness in Chelsea blue last for a good long while yet!