2018 22under22 Countdown – #17: Andreas Christensen

Christensen

“Andreas Christensen is wonderful. I think this player is the present and also the future for Chelsea. He can also become the captain of this team.” – Antonio Conte


Date of Birth: April 10th, 1996 (22 years old)
Nationality: Danish
Position: Center Back
Club Appearances: 125 (7 goals)
International Appearances: 14 (1 goal)
EiF Ability Rating: 57

*EiF Ability Rating is a representation of a combination of the player’s current ability and potential ability. It is determined by multiple rounds of voting, and then an addition of the scores given by each judge. The maximum score a player can have is 80.


Over the last five or six years, Chelsea have been blessed with multiple world class center backs that have led Chelsea to new heights of success. When I look at the careers of players like John Terry, Gary Cahill, and Cesar Azpilicueta, the word that continues running through my mind is consistency. Consistency is perhaps the most important attribute to have as a center back as any mistake will likely lead to a chance or a goal. For me, Andres Christensen is the epitome of consistency and has proven himself at the highest level to to one of the best young players in the Premier League.

He started his youth career with Brøndby IF in 2004 and after an eight-year tenure, he signed with the Chelsea academy in 2012. Regarded as a standout player in the academy, Chelsea eventually loaned him to Borussia Mönchengladbach to continue his development. After his debut season in the Bundesliga, he was voted the teams’ Player of the Season and continued at the club for another year. After his two-year loan spell, during which he played two seasons of Champions League football, Christensen eventually solidified his place in the Chelsea first team and found himself as a regular starter as the Premier League season progressed, appearing 26 times for Chelsea in the Premier League during the 2017/18 season. This past January, Chelsea rewarded Christensen with a 4-and-a-half-year contract, committing him to the club until 2022.

Strengths

One of Christensen’s most noticeable attributes is his confidence on the ball. Averaging about 50 passes per game, he rarely gives the ball away and is extremely accurate in his passes out of the back. He is very comfortable receiving balls under pressure, and his excellent first touch allows him to take the ball down cleanly and always find an outlet.

Another attribute that comes up time and time again with Christensen is his attitude. Both John Terry and Gary Cahill have praised Christensen for being extremely coachable and willing to listen to the more senior players as he continues to improve his game. Listening to this advice and implementing it into his game has surely been a huge factor in Christensen’s rather meteoric rise, as he went from barely seeing the field in the early part of this season to becoming a regular starter for Chelsea alongside Azpilicueta and Rudiger.

Although not the most intimidating-looking player, his ability to anticipate the movements and passes of opposing players allows him to make critical interceptions in dangerous areas of the field. He reads the game extremely well and rarely puts a wrong foot down when defending.

Weaknesses

Christensen’s most obvious weakness is his build. Despite being 6 feet 2 inches tall, he weighs a measly 171 pounds, which is rather low for a Premier League defender of that height. However, he has been looking stronger and stronger throughout the season, and definitely looks bigger than he did when he first arrived back from Germany. However, he must continue to develop physically if he wants to continue playing at such a high level.

Towards the end of the 2017/18 season, we have seen a few high-profile mistakes from the young lad that have put him in the spotlight recently. The biggest mistake came in the first leg of Chelsea’s Round of 16 match against Barcelona. An uncharacteristic sloppy pass by Christensen across his own box was intercepted by Andres Iniesta, who proceeded to drop the ball back to Messi for an open goal. He followed this performance up with a few more costly errors against Manchester City and Manchester United. However, I truly believe that these errors are a result of the mental and physical workload of playing in his first full Premier League season. Christensen had played error-free football in the 20+ games leading up to the Barcelona game. However, no one is perfect, and I believe that these mistakes will allow him to grow as a player as he finishes this season and begins to gear up for his second season as a Chelsea starter.


Simply put, Christensen is the undeniable future of Chelsea’s back line. He has developed an impressive partnership with Cesar Azpilicueta, and I consider the pair to be two of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League. With the likes of Kurt Zouma and Nathan Ake returning to Chelsea in the coming years, I see an extremely bright future for the Chelsea defense with Christensen at the helm. If he learns from the critical mistakes he made at the end of this season, he will continue to develop into a world-class center back and potentially become the next John Terry of Chelsea Football Club.


Written by Teddy Lyons