Denmark got off to a somewhat disappointing start against Tunisia in the World Cup, drawing 0-0 in their opening fixture. They can at least take solace in the fact that they were solid at the back.
Tunisia had little in the way of clear chances, with only a singular Kasper Schmeichel save of note and one disallowed goal breaching their backline.
That was in no small part down to Andreas Christensen. The Barcelona defender comported himself expertly at the back, putting together a number of statistics befitting of a central midfielder as much as a defender.
– 94 Touches
– 79/82 Passes – leader
– 96% Passing Accuracy – leader
– 5/8 Long Balls
– 1 Tackle
– 4 Blocks
– 1 Clearance
– 1 Interception
– 2/4 Duels Won
– 9 Ball Recoveries – leader
– 0 Fouls
Andreas Christensen putting up midfielder numbers against Tunisia. pic.twitter.com/hmwjT5ziE8
— Football España (@footballespana_) November 22, 2022
It has been in keeping with his performances for Barcelona this season. While he was ruled out with injury for most of October following an ankle sprain, his showings so far have been almost exemplary.
According to Relevo, Christensen’s performances have been a pleasant surprise for the Barcelona coaching team. Particularly impressed with his work on the ball, as was on show against Tunisia, it has been almost flawless in their view. His injury was felt keenly during the month of October when Real Madrid, Inter and Bayern Munich all had their way with the Barcelona defence. Twelve of the 17 goals that Barcelona have conceded this season came during Christensen’s absence.
The one area where the Barcelona staff wanted to see more from him is in terms of personality. Naturally more of an introvert, seemingly that has been exacerbated buy his adaptation to a new language at the start of the season. His communication has been the only point of improvement for Xavi Hernandez though.
Most had considered Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde to be the prime central defensive pairing going into the season and it might still be the case. However concern has been shown over Araujo’s trouble bringing the ball out of defence, and along with Eric Garcia, Christensen can likely claim to be the best at doing so. The equation at the back might not be as simple as many at Camp Nou first thought.