How Andreas Christensen is putting his exit from Chelsea behind him at Barcelona

Barcelona’s victory over the Supercopa de España was Xavi’s first title as a manager at the Camp Nou but also had a special significance for Andreas Christensen.

After a difficult start in Barcelona after a bitter exit from ChelseaThe centre-back has finally found his place in the team – and backed that up with his first piece of silverware at his new club.

Christensen started alongside Jules Conde In the center of defense, with Ronald Araujo Pushed to the right to deal with a threat Vinicius Jr. The plan worked as Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners – Vinicius Junior was an almost unknown and Real Madrid tied it up late on Karim Benzema The goal of solace.

The Danish international played a key role in Barcelona’s victory. He had a 75 percent duel success rate and lost possession only twice, the fewest times of any starter. Christensen also recorded a 98 percent success completion rate, with 62 of his 63 passes reaching their intended goal, along with a 96 percent success rate at the quarterback.

It was the last match Christensen impressed. Perhaps his best performance Barcelona It came in the 1-0 win away to Atlético Madrid just over a week ago that saw Xavi’s side three points clear of the top of the league. league.

This is what the statistics showed. Christensen was the Barcelona player with the most assists in that match, according to FBref, with 86 (of 90 attempts), ahead of Conde with 67 and Araujo’s assists with 62. He also had the second most touches of either team (100). , just two behind Kunde.

He was just as effective in defence, and worked well with centre-back Araujo – Christensen was the Barcelona player with the second most balls recovered (nine), one less than Pedri.

On the same day, Christensen’s former club thrashed Chelsea 4-0 Manchester city In the FA cup.

Since losing the central defense duo Christensen and Antonio Rudiger On free transportation to Barcelona and Real Madrid After their contracts expired last summer, Chelsea spent a lot of money trying to strengthen their defensive line without being fully successful.

Kalidou Coulibaly And Wesley Fofana Arrived from Naples and Leicester Citythe latter for £70m ($85.4m), but both struggled.

Fofana struggled with injury problems. He limped off due to a sprained knee ligament AC Milan In early october and i lost a potential place in France‘s world Cup band as a result. As soon as he recovered, he re-injured his knee in a friendly match against Premier League Neighbour Brentford During the club season break for the tournament in Qatar. He is not expected to return until later this month.

Christensen saw a disappointing end to his Chelsea career.

like the athlete mentioned Last May, he was about to renew his deal in August 2021 after he helped them win the Champions League. There was confidence that he would sign a five-year contract worth £140,000-a-week, but a misunderstanding between the club and the player meant this did not happen.

Andreas Christensen put in an impressive performance in Barcelona’s 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid (Photo: David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images).

According to a source close to Christensen, who wishes to remain anonymous to protect his position, the Dane was happy living in London, where he originally signed for Chelsea in 2012 at the age of 16, but began taking signals from the club that he hadn’t. like.

During that time, Barcelona coach Xavi spoke twice with Christensen via video call to try to convince him to move to the Catalan club. Christensen also felt that there were times when there were doubts about his ability and that, having arrived at Chelsea at such a young age, he was destined to always be seen as an academy player.

Christensen, 26, did not question his talent but felt as though some at the club did not trust his ability to handle high-pressure situations and elite football. With Barcelona interested and Xavi’s calls making it clear how much he wanted the Camp Nou, the defender made up his mind.

He decided the time was right, given the Barcelona project and Xavi’s style of football.

Christensen felt he would be given more importance at the Camp Nou and play more than he did for Chelsea – although this wasn’t the case in his first few weeks in Catalonia.

the athleteSpanish football coverage It has openings…

This was partly because Xavi regularly experimented with his line-up in the first half of the season.

Christensen attempted a four-way defense against vallicano ray In their first match in La Liga – a goalless draw at home as the defender was substituted Sergi Roberto in the 60th minute.

After that, Xavi didn’t play at centre-back at all in two of the next three matches, before making his Champions League debut for his new club by starting in a 5-1 win over Czech outsiders Viktoria Plzen on September 7. He was rested the following weekend against Cádiz before starting at Bayern Munich three days later, where he was substituted in the 70th minute by Eric Garcia Barcelona also lost 2-0.

Christensen was impressive, though Xavi rotated a lot in the Barcelona squad due to his large squad.

In late September, fellow centre-back Araujo suffered a thigh injury, which required him to undergo surgery. He was then joined in the treatment room by Christensen, who injured ligaments in his left ankle in the 1-0 Champions League loss to Inter Milan at the San Siro in early October. He returned a week before the World Cup break began, coming on for the last few minutes in place of Gerard Pique in the 2-0 home win over Almería.

Play every minute DenmarkSurprisingly bad World Cup campaign – European Championship 16 months ago, they were knocked out at the group stage with just one point from their three matches – scoring the equalizer in a 2-1 loss to France, and making an impressive return to club football, producing a solid performance. In the city derby vs Espanyol On New Year’s Eve before his defensive presentation against Atletico and another confirmed display on Sunday.

The numbers suggest that Christensen should firmly establish himself as first-choice central defender alongside Araujo. He won his battle with Garcia and also appears to have unseated fellow summer Conde, who has mostly played at right-back this season.

Following the manner of his departure from his old club and suggestions in the Spanish press that Real Madrid had signed Chelsea’s top centre-back, Christensen appears to be back to his best.

The contrast with Rudiger on Sunday couldn’t be more stark – while Christensen impressed at Barcelona’s centre-back, his former Chelsea teammate was headbutted and then misplaced in the build-up to his side conceding a goal. the first goal. The center of the German defense was pushed back from its position and Robert Lewandowski can play Javi By reaching the target easily.

Most importantly from Barcelona’s point of view, it looks like they finally have a solid defensive platform to build on. Christensen is hoping the Supercopa will be just the first of many trophies with Barcelona.

Other writers: Paul Paul and Simon Johnson

(Top photo: Yasir Bakhsh/Getty Images)

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