Watford coach Javi Gracia has been linked with the Chelsea job in the last few days, leading to plenty of idle speculation about what changes might be made should the Spanish coach take over at Stamford Bridge.
Squawka posted the following piece which noted that Andreas Christensen has played far fewer minutes this season under Maurizio Sarri, compared to last season.
That is indisputable. Christensen finished last season with 2071, and he has just 410 so far this season.
But, when you dig into it a little, deeper, it’s not as bad as it seems.
Andreas Christensen's Premier League minutes by season:
2017/18: 2071 ⏳
2018/19: 410 ⏳
Maurizio Sarri limiting his time. pic.twitter.com/Xxh5iZoupk
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 16, 2019
Firstly, let’s remember that Sarri switched from Antonio Conte’s 3 man back line to a four. That immediately reduced the chances for a centre back to play. In that context, playing a quarter of the minutes is pretty much par for the course.
Then you also have the fact that this season isn’t over yet. AC could easily rack up another couple of hundred before the term is out.
You also have to consider that he has played a lot in the cups and the Europa League too. Of course it’s no substitute for league action, but it’s better than nothing, and it’s keeping him fresh for the chances he does get.
We are desperate to see him play from the start more often. But it’s totally understandable why Sarri elected to use David Luiz and Antonio Rudiger as his first choice pair to start the season, and since then our Danish talent has seen steadily more and more action.
More progress is needed, without doubt. But things aren’t as bad as those numbers make it look.