Undrafted – The Network

David Luiz’s Calamity Cameo

I’m hoping we all tuned in for David Luiz’s Calamity Cameo last night as the Premier League returned. Pre game, Mikel Arteta was asked to explain his decision to leave David Luiz out of his starting line up having been in the team pre-lockdown. Arteta said “There are a few things that happened in recent weeks” and “I have to pick the team that in my opinion is the best to compete today”.

When Pablo Mari was injured at the 24th minute mark, Luiz was called for to replace him. His bad night started by him failing to cut out a routine forward pass from Kevin De Bruyne, allowing Raheem Sterling to smash the ball past ‘   ‘ for the opener. His night then when from bad to worse when he pulled back Riyad Mahrez, conceding a penalty which City capitalised on to go two nil up and earning him a straight red card in the process.

According to Opta, it actually made him the first player in any of the European major league to come off the bench, commit and error leading to a opposition goal, concede a pen and then be sent off in the same game since 2011, when defender Ivan Cordoba for Inter Milan did the same in a Serie A match.

After all the speculation has been building about his Arsenal future during the last few weeks due to the clubs decision not to activate his one year extension yet, last night would have been the prime opportunity for him to prove he deserves to stay. Instead he absolutely sucked and pretty much self destructed against Man City causing them to drop more points in the fight for Champions League football.

I’m a massive David Luiz fan, so much so I’ve had his name on the back of multiple Chelsea shirts but I’m tired of defending the fact he can’t defend. He’s possessed all the characteristics to be one of the best ball playing CB’s in the world that’s undeniable but he’s never been able to cut the costly mistakes out or defend consistently for a number of seasons. It becomes very frustrating when he plays for your team but incredibly funny when you get to watch Arsenal get slapped up.

The sky sports analysis from Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher is fantastic. I always stay tuned after the game to watch their breakdown of the games. This is one of the reasons I’m writing this blog today. When questioned on David Luiz’s calamity cameo, Carragher went on say “It is unbelievable in some ways that he has kidded so many people in football”. He then added “There is only one manager who I can think of who has got the best from David Luiz and that is Antonio Conte when he played him in the middle of a back three”. This is so God damn true. No coach even Jose managed to get the best out of Luiz like Conte did, so is he being poorly managed?

I think yes to a degree. I’ve always believed the aggressive and expressive way David Luiz likes to play football he would be really suited to the anchor man position of the midfield, breaking up play and beginning attacks with his amazing passing ability. Conte had other ideas though. He deployed Luiz in the centre of a back 3, something the Premier League had never really seen before. He stripped Luiz’s game back to the very basics, pass to Dave (Azpilicueta) on his right and Cahill on his left. He told him to just stay in position and be disciplined. I’ve never seen him boot so many footballs into Row Z, out of fear if he messed up Conte would bend him up like a pretzel Ronnie Cray style. He benefited massively from having a smaller share of the defensive responsibilities.

David Luiz at Chelsea Image Credit – Football Whispers

During the 2016-2017 season Luiz produced consistently high performances all year and was major part of the reason Chelsea won the Premier League under Antonio Conte. You can’t take away from him what he’s achieved in the game with a number of titles to his name including a Champions League title at Chelsea which other defenders would dream of having, but he just lets himself down too regularly.

Arteta is committed to playing with a back four, but the evidence that Luiz cannot cope with this system is piling up. From what I’m reading today in the news it looks like Luiz’s time is up in the Premier League. Last night was probably his final appearance for Arsenal as Arteta shapes his side for next season, with the future in mind.

Where to next for Luiz? It will probably be back to Benefica in my eyes, the club where he made a name for himself. So long Sideshow bob. Chelsea fans will miss you, Arsenal fans not so much.

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