Brentford manager Thomas Frank has hailed compatriot Andreas Christensen, whom he coached when in charge of Denmark’s various youth teams, as “one of the best defenders in the world”.
Christensen, 25, has made 135 appearances for Chelsea, though he is yet to cement a consistent starting berth at Stamford Bridge, with 27 Premier League appearances in 2017/18 being his best return so far for the west Londoners.
This term, the 52-capped Denmark international has played the full 90 minutes in all but two of Chelsea’s Premier League games (Aston Villa and Southampton) under Thomas Tuchel as the European champions currently sit first in the table.
The 25-year-old also featured in the Super Cup win over Villarreal, and has started in both Champions League matches against Zenit Saint Petersburg and Juventus. He will be hoping to bring up his 80th Premier League appearances this weekend against a former manager as Chelsea take on Brentford.
Frank has produced wonders for the Bees this term, already claiming the scalps of Arsenal, West Ham and Wolves, as well as securing a point in a 3-3 spectacle against Liverpool, but this weekend’s test against the champions of Europe represents arguably his toughest challenge yet.
His job will be to breach the defence of Christensen and Co, but judging by his comments on his former student for Denmark U16s and U17s, that will be a task easier said than done, with the Brentford boss lauding the Dane “almost the complete package” as a player.
“At the moment, he is one of the best defenders in the world,’ Frank told Danish outlet Bold.
“He has always been enormously intelligent on the pitch, meaning very quick to anticipate all situations offensively and defensively.
“He is technically hugely strong for a defender in terms of bringing the ball forward, passing and making good choices.
“He is also foresighted and fast at the same time, so it’s almost the complete package.”
A modern centre-back in every sense, Christensen’s slick and precise distribution combine to make him an excellent defensive springboard for Tuchel’s system. So far this term, only Aymeric Laporte (96.18%), Ruben Dias (93.25%) and Lewis Dunk (90.76%) have registered a better pass accuracy than him (90.68%) among centre-backs. That confidence on the ball will be key this weekend against a Brentford frontline conditioned to put pressure on opposition defences.