Andreas Christensen: A rollercoaster club season to bringing unbridled joy to the hearts of his country’s supporters

The 2020/21 campaign got off to a flyer for Andreas Christensen. The Dane started in a 3-1 victory over Brighton in the first game of the season as the feel-good factor arrived pretty swiftly among supporters. Along came Liverpool to Stamford Bridge six days later and Christensen had a torrid time, to say the least. A red card for him on the stroke of half time was the start of a capitulation for Chelsea as a Sadio Mane double in the space of four minutes early in the second half settled the game for good as the Blues were dominated.

From that moment onwards, Christensen took a long time to fully get back to form, with Kurt Zouma, Antonio Rudiger, and Thiago Silva finding themselves above him in the centre-back pecking order. From the Liverpool defeat up until Frank Lampard’s sacking, Christensen only started three league games as he found himself both out of favour with Frank and not available through injury. Even when the boss used a back three, Christensen remained an outcast.

January came around and the rumours began that Christensen was set to leave Chelsea as a result of his non-inclusions in the starting team when he did make the matchday squad. Lampard was sacked after Chelsea’s 3-1 victory over Luton Town in the FA Cup and in came Thomas Tuchel. From here, Christensen’s fortunes changed.

Tuchel and Andreas Christensen
Andreas Christensen and Thomas Tuchel | Credit: Glyn Kirk – Pool/Getty Images

With a new manager coming in, wholesale team changes are usually expected and that is what happened. The Wolves game, the first of the Tuchel era saw the German implement a back three with Callum Hudson-Odoi at right wingback, Jorginho starting in the holding role and Marcos Alonso back on the bench after being left out to dry by Frank Lampard as the Blues drew 0-0.

Christensen officially returned to action against Tottenham, when he replaced an injured Thiago Silva after half an hour. The Blues got the 1-0 win, with Christensen performing admirably alongside Rudiger and Cesar Azpilicueta in the back three.

From that point, Christensen became a big favourite of Tuchel’s as he played in the next eleven games until the end of the season. As his performances improved dramatically, belief amongst certain sections of the fanbase that he should be sold rapidly diminished.

Along came the Champions League Final and with Christensen’s last game before that night being the 2-1 comeback victory against Manchester City ten days prior, the back three on the big night consisted of Azpilicueta, Rudiger, and Silva.

Nobody expected any sort of déjà vu during the final but that is exactly what happened when Silva once again came off injured after 40 minutes, as Christensen had the unenviable task of slotting seamlessly into a match that was in full flow.

Did he succeed in doing so? Absolutely. Along with the rest of the defence and the entire team at that, he was excellent, playing as if he’d been in multiple Champions League finals previously, not just his first.

Christensen’s transformation and improvement in his defensive maturity during the season had been wildly beyond anybody’s expectations and he was richly rewarded, although expected, with a place in Denmark’s squad for the European Championships.

As we all know, Denmark’s tournament got off to a heartbreaking start with Christian Eriksen’s shock collapse on the field in their 1-0 loss to Finland. From that moment on, with the news that their international teammate had recovered and was safe and well in the hospital just a few yards from their national stadium, the Danish team poured their heart and soul into their final two group games. Despite losing 2-1 to Belgium, the Danes played well in the game, going in front early on. They then knew they had to beat Russia in the final game of the group to stand a chance of progressing to the last 16. And it was Christensen that produced the moment of the match.

Denmark were 2-1 to the good after 78 minutes when, after Russia struggled to properly clear the ball after a Denmark attack, the ball fell to the onrushing Christensen a good 25 yards from goal and he hammered his shot – a Goal of the Tournament contender – straight into the roof of the net to all but secure the three points for his national side sending the Danish fans into raptures, following up his goal with a celebration dedicated to Eriksen – making the number 10 with his hands to the camera.

The final score was 4-1 as the Danes soaked in the moment on the pitch after the final whistle, a really touching moment for the nation who feared the worst at the beginning of the tournament but now they march into the last 16 where they will face Wales, hoping they can bring more happiness to their country.

Christensen deserves this. After such a turbulent start to the domestic campaign and Euros, he will cherish the moment of representing his country in the knockouts before he heads back to Chelsea and attempts to make himself a staple in Tuchel’s team for the new season that kicks off in just two months time.

Written by Luka Foley @UOGLuka

Edited by Jai McIntosh @jjmcintosh5

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