"David Luiz looks - I'm scared to say it - like a serious defender."
David Luiz has received plaudits for his recent performances playing in the middle of Antonio Conte’s new back three. When David Luiz s...
David Luiz has received plaudits for his recent performances playing in the middle of Antonio Conte’s new back three.
When David Luiz signed for Chelsea on transfer deadline day back in August, everyone had an opinion of him. Those without blue-tinted glasses laughed and slated us for re-signing a player deemed as too unreliable or too wayward for being a successful defender in the Premier League.
I took to my blog here to post up comments made by Luiz after he had signed for the club where he openly stated that he wanted to win the Premier League and to change opinions of him in the game.
After a bad start in a formation that no longer worked or suited our players, Antonio Conte made a tactical switch to playing three at the back with David Luiz playing through the middle. In four games, 360 minutes, six hours of Premier League football against Hull City, Champions Leicester, Manchester United and one of the toughest grounds to go to – Southampton, Chelsea have not conceded a single goal. After a bad start in a formation that no longer worked or suited our players, Antonio Conte made a tactical switch to playing three at the back with David Luiz playing through the middle. In four games, 360 minutes, six hours of Premier League football against Hull City, Champions Leicester, Manchester United and one of the toughest grounds to go to – Southampton, Chelsea have not conceded a single goal. With Everton this weekend it is set up to be another test for the back 3 and Luiz. Everton has scored 5 in their last 3 games but has struggled with their form compared to the start of the season. The guys over at SBAT have put together their weekend football tips and with bookies having Chelsea at 1/2 and Everton at 5/1 it's easy to see why they are tipping Chelsea for another win at the weekend.
Jamie Carragher, the ex-Liverpool defender and someone I have admired as being as close to John Terry as you could get, without playing for England which is something I will never understand, has praised Luiz for his role in our new formation. He said:
“There’s been talk of Conte always wanting to play three at the back.
This is not something he looked at in pre-season. I don’t think they’ve worked on it too much.
I’ve played in three at the back. It is hard to change. The personnel they’ve got suits the system though.
David Luiz (who is playing in the middle of a three in defence) is much better on the ball than Azpilicueta or Cahill.
But is he playing the best four or five games that he’s had for Chelsea now? Is that because he‘s not actually stepping out with the ball?
The thing that we associate with being his strength is actually his defending now.
Why shouldn’t David Luiz be a top defender? He can cope with anyone physically, the problem he has, which we think is his strength, is when he’s on the ball.
He gets too casual. He takes too many risks. Now he’s got that responsibility in the centre, it’s not his job to go and step out.
The only problem I see in this set-up with David Luiz is if he becomes bored and he does something stupid.” Source - Daily Express.
Carragher’s ex-team-mate and Sky Pundit Jamie Redknapp has also heaped praise on Luiz, which he admits is something of a surprise. He said:
“There is a hunger about this Chelsea team.
The manager has brought that in and the players are buying into it.
Every single player on that pitch is working hard and there's a desire about them again. Conte has got them so well drilled. Everybody knows their job when they have the ball and it suits them defensively as well.
Luiz looks - I'm scared to say it - like a serious defender. You've got him buying into it as well, and that was a problem for Chelsea for many years. But when he's like that, he looks the real deal." - Source - Goal.com.
I have to admit, David Luiz looks as though he has found what appears to be his best position. There has never been any question of his ability with the ball at his feet or his ability to read the game being played out in front of him, the questions have come based on times when playing as a centre-back pairing, he leaves his position or sells himself into a tackle or situation he is never going to win leaving his defensive partner exposed.
Now, in the new formation with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill playing either side of him, he is able to focus on reading where there is danger and providing support to one of those two. He blocks crosses coming into the box, wins headers and so far, has performed well playing a key role in the four clean sheets in a row we have achieved.
He said he was coming back to change opinions and with the help of Antonio Conte’s new formation, he appears to be doing exactly that!