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Christensen: Embracing new challenges

Andreas Christensen has been speaking about his role in the side and the importance of being able to distribute the ball effectively.

The Blues travel to Everton for today’s lunchtime kick-off and Christensen, rested for the midweek Carabao Cup win over Bournemouth, is expected to return to the starting line-up as we attempt to maintain an impressive sequence of results.

The 21-year-old, operating as the central figure in a three-man defence, has been superb since establishing himself as a regular starter in the side, with his passing statistics particularly impressive.

Those supporters who watched Christensen play for our Academy sides, as well as during his two-year loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach, will know how technically accomplished he is, but the fact he boasts a 93.8 per cent pass completion rate in the Premier League, and an even better one, 95.9 per cent, in the Champions League, proves just how effective his use of the ball has been.

‘It all depends on what type of game it is and recently we’ve played against a lot of sides who have sat deep, so the only option has been for me to play the ball to the sides,’ Christensen tells the official Chelsea website.

‘I don’t focus too much on statistics, I just like to focus on what’s best for my team in certain situations. Sometimes it can look easy when you play a simple pass but, when possible, I like to try to play the ball forward.

‘Yes, it’s important,’ he adds, when asked about the significance of using the ball well. Also, I’m the last man so it’s important I don’t try to be ridiculously brave, I have to be careful. Sometimes keeping it simple and just moving the ball helps the team build a good rhythm, that’s my job and then I can focus on my defensive work as well.’

So integral to the side has Christensen become, he was rested along with the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta, N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard for the Carabao Cup game against Bournemouth, and earlier in the week his performances this season were described as ‘amazing’ by Antonio Conte.

The festive period will bring a new challenge for the young defender, who will be tasked with playing regular football over Christmas for the first time in his career having enjoyed the luxury of a winter break during his time in Germany.

‘It will be new for me and I think it will be tough,’ he says. ‘Even when I was playing in the Academy we had some time off over Christmas. In Germany you get two weeks off so I’ve been used to going home and being with my family, but this year I’ll be hosting everyone when they come to me.

‘I’m lucky, though, because we celebrate Christmas on the 24th, which might be a day off after we play Everton, and then our next game is on Boxing Day, so it works out quite well. It could be more of a mental challenge than a physical one and it will be important to just get home and chill between games. It’s just one of those things you have to work through.

‘My family will come over, and my girlfriend’s family as well, there will be around 10 of us so it should be nice but I’ll leave the cooking to my mum and a few of the other relatives.’

With eight victories from our last 10 Premier League matches, and the Blues through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, as well as the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, we are well placed in three competitions.

Christensen’s immediate focus is on today’s trip to a resurgent Everton, and next week’s home matches against Brighton and Stoke.

With the arrival of the New Year, however, comes a couple of mouth-watering cup clashes, starting with a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal, before the small matter of a last-16 Champions League tie against Barcelona, a team Christensen has tested himself against previously.

‘I’m looking forward to it, those big games are always fun to be a part of,’ he says. ‘I played against Barcelona in the Champions League last season while I was on loan at Monchengladbach and in the first game we were unlucky, we were 1-0 up until the last 10 minutes when they scored twice.

‘The away game was more difficult and we lost 4-0, the Nou Camp is a hard place to go but I’m really looking forward to it.’

 

- You can watch a special Chelsea TV show, The Andreas Christensen Story, by clicking below.
 

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