Chelsea know all too well what Christian Eriksen is capable of. The Dane has an exceptional record of nine goals in 16 appearances against the Blues with his latest strike coming in Brentford’s shock 4-1 win over Thomas Tuchel’s team on Saturday. This goal, of course, came attached with more meaning than the others.
Eriksen’s return to professional football after suffering a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020 last summer has been remarkable. Unable to stay at Inter due to Serie A rules restricting players from playing with the ICD device he was fitted with, the 30-year-old signed for Brentford as a free agent. That was enough for many just happy to see Eriksen back on a pitch.
Now, though, Eriksen’s return is becoming more than just sentimentality. He is also reminding us all of his match-winning quality and why he was not so long ago seen as one of the best creative midfielders in the Premier League. At 30, Eriksen still has plenty to offer and is once again making his mark.
His goal-scoring performance against Chelsea came after Eriksen scored in back-to-back internationals for Denmark against Netherlands and Serbia. At Euro 2020, Denmark responded remarkably to losing their best player at the start of the tournament, making a run to the semi-finals, but with Eriksen back they will be bolstered for the 2022 World Cup.
Brentford have Eriksen to thank for dragging them away from danger at the foot of the Premier League table. Until recently, it appeared the Bees were being sucked into the relegation scrap, going eight games without a win over January and February. Now, though, they have an 11-point cushion on the bottom three after three wins in four matches.
Ivan Toney has been resurgent since the arrival of Eriksen with the 26-year-old striker netting a hat trick in the Dane’s first start for Brentford against Norwich City. Eriksen also looks to have struck up an understanding with Bryan Mbuemo, giving Thomas Frank a different option to utilise in the final third of the pitch. He has been a perfect fit for the Bees.
As things stand, Eriksen is only contracted until the end of the season. Speculation is already swirling about the 30-year-old’s next move with Arsenal and even Manchester United recently linked. However, Eriksen should be wary of losing what he has gained at Brentford, a club ready to mould itself around the Dane.
“In any footballer’s decision to move clubs there are a lot of aspects,” said Bees boss Thomas Frank when addressing Eriksen’s future at the club. “It will be the same for Christian. To be fair, I know Christian quite well and one thing he’s good at is just enjoying the moment. And I think he’s enjoying it even more.
“So we are not thinking too much of what is going to happen in two or three months’ time. I’m just very pleased he’s playing for us. It’s no secret that I want him to continue next season. I know Christian is enjoying his football and really enjoying being back. I know I will have to answer these questions until the end of the season, so let’s see what will happen.”
There’s little doubt Eriksen could still compete at the elite level of the sport, but Brentford are a club on an upward trajectory. Should they avoid relegation this season, which looks likely, there’s nothing to say they can’t target a top half finish next season. Eriksen is the sort of player who could get them there.