Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen will be entrusted with replacing David Luiz during his three-game ban after the Brazil international was sent off against Arsenal. The former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back was dismissed just four minutes from time for a rash challenge on Sead Kolasinac, the major flashpoint of an otherwise dreary stalemate at Stamford Bridge.
Luiz will miss the Blues’ next three domestic games starting with the mid-week Carabao Cup third round tie with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday [20 September]. The run will also include the trip to Stoke City next weekend and the visit of Premier League title favourites Manchester City on 30 September, though the 30-year-old will be available for the Champions League tie at Atletico Madrid.
Manager Antonio Conte is hardly devoid of options in defence, having welcomed back Gary Cahill from a three-game suspension of his own. Antonio Rudiger arrived from Roma in the summer to bolster their resources but the Italian is ready to overlook the new signing and opt for 21-year-old Christensen.
“Yes,” the Chelsea boss responded when asked if the Denmark international was ready to step in Luiz’s shoes, according to The Evening Standard. “Christensen is a very young player but I think he is a good player and I trust him. Now he has the possibility to play and now he has to prepare very well to play.”
Christensen has spent the last two seasons on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach but has bucked the trend of recent Chelsea cast-offs by returning to the club and being included in first team activities. He has played in four of the defending champions’ five Premier League games, including as a late substitute against Arsenal as Rudiger was forced to watch the 0-0 draw from the bench.
The centre-back’s run in the team will start against Forest, when Eden Hazard is also set to be handed his first start of the campaign.
Meanwhile, the dismissal of Luiz was the fourth suffered by Chelsea this season. Pedro saw red in the Community Shield loss to the Gunners before Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were both dismissed in the opening weekend defeat to Burnley. Conte is bewildered by his side’s disciplinary record this term which he puts down to bad luck.
“For sure it is strange but in all situations we have to try to improve; in the tactical situation, the physical situation and also we must try to improve in this situation, and also we hope to be more lucky in the future,” he explains.
“I was a player and it can happen this type of period when we were not so lucky to receive red cards. I hope to be more lucky with the decisions for us and also for the opponent because sometimes the opponent deserved a red card and instead they continued to play with 11 men.”