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David Luiz back at Chelsea


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He's as good as you're going to get in that "spare man" role, because he's asked to stay deep, meaning he concentrates on defending and he's showing what a great defender he can be, but because he's the "spare man" he also gets to set up our play, and there's literally no-one better in the world to do that. Thus far, it's been an incredible signing. He's shown leadership, bravery, skill. He's got pace, he's great in the air, he's tough in the tackle, he can read the game. He's literally got it all, when he puts his mind to it, and with Conte at the helm, you can bet he'll put his mind to it. With Luiz, it's all about staying disciplined. For my money however, there's a bit of revisionism going on now, not particularly from you but from the broader world at large as it were. People are saying he couldn't do it in a back four. I don't buy that for a second. His current role may be perfect for him and he may be perfect for it but if we ever switch to a back four, you can bet your bottom dollar Luiz will make that team. Right now, I get the feeling all these clean sheets are personal for Luiz. He's got a point to prove and that point is that when he focuses on defending and nothing else, he's actually not as bad as people think. In fact he's bloody good at it. Right now, for my money, he's the captain without the armband. It's actually turning out to be an inspired signing.

I too don't buy the "can't do it in a back 4" rubbish either

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On 22/11/2016 at 00:13, g3.7 said:

@Davey BabyI agree with all the praise he's been getting at the moment and I agree that he's helping to make the back 3 work as much as the back three relieves him of certain things he's not so good at, but he has played in a back four under conte already and for my money it didn't work at all. his natural tendency is to go to the ball rather than stay in a position. he's suppressing that well at the moment, but on the occasion that he does give in usually he's covered by two players and usually he's not leaving a space or a player that needs immediate attention. against west ham away he played in one of the wider (more orthodox) central positions and looked much less assured.

 I'm not saying "he's not playing as an orthodox defender so technically I wasn't wrong to say he couldn't be an asset to us"- I concede happily that he has already shown that assertion to be false. what I would say is that even with the increased discipline in his game, I think there would be question marks about whether he could translate this form into a flat back four (questions that I would also put against both wingbacks and the team as a unit). now the more he works with conte the better he may get in all aspects of his game, but I don't think we should look a gift horse in the mouth. all a footballer needs to do to justify his place is to make the team better. luiz is doing that.

Tbf, luiz played in a back 4, at a time when cahill was all over the place, and both games were against top quality opposition. Luiz had also only just signed so how much work would conte have been able to do with him at that point is debatable. 

I think with a bit of work on the training ground, and the right personnel, he could shine in a back 4 aswell, maybe not to the same extent as he does in the centre of a 3. 

I was okay with him coming back, not over the moon, but i thought he could be a decent signing, after what was looking like a frustrating window. 

He still makes mistakes, even early on against Middlesbrough, he got drawn to the ball which left space in behind azpiliucueta, but luckily ramirez didnt take take advantage. 

But i think his positives generally outweigh his negatives, especially when he is focused, like he has been under conte, and how he was in a lot of big games for us in his 1st spell. 

He will probably never lose this tag of not being able to defend, but if he keeps this level of performance up, then im sure none of us will really care.

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On 22/11/2016 at 01:18, g3.7 said:

luiz' run now- and this is in a less conventional set up where much of what a central defender does in a back four is tasked to others- is by a distance the most consistent defending he's done in his career I'd wager. certainly the best I've ever seen from him. 

in a back four evans is not a great defender, but he is good. he's reliable and does a lot of the bog standard meat and potatoes things- like man marking- better than luiz. in fact david's start in a back 4 after returning did not fill me with any confidence that he would be better this time.

that post was more a reflection of my preference for reliability at the back than some plea for us to sign evans.

let me restate- at the time I would've preferred evans because I believed luiz would be detrimental to the team overall, whereas evans may have been a good squad player. so the imaginary fee was illustrative of that opinion (rather than an attempt at financial valuation).

I don't have a problem saying that since the back 3 luiz has been a revelation- even more than victor moses, and that I am delighted that he's proving me wrong by contributing to a high level.

 

p.s.

I didn't offer a thought process for you to label crazy or otherwise. if this is, as I am starting to suspect, an effort to humiliate or embarrass, then you will need to do better than this. If you want more insight then ask for it 'bro'.

 

So it's simply an exaggerating attempt just to make your point??  well, you went too soft on the so called imaginary fee, making people took you seriously for that..

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if people thought that I was seriously advocating spending £80m on jonny evans then that reflects more on their ability to understand words than my ability to use them.

 

"I would rather" means something different to "we should", the alternative offered was luiz "on a free"- which didn't reflect his contractual situation or availability, and £80m is double what anyone had ever spent on a defender at the time.

 

other than that, yeah, I can see how people might have taken that comment at face value (and now I wonder whether I will be explaining that THIS comment isn't to be taken at face value either).

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13 minutes ago, g3.7 said:

if people thought that I was seriously advocating spending £80m on jonny evans then that reflects more on their ability to understand words than my ability to use them.

 

"I would rather" means something different to "we should", the alternative offered was luiz "on a free"- which didn't reflect his contractual situation or availability, and £80m is double what anyone had ever spent on a defender at the time.

 

other than that, yeah, I can see how people might have taken that comment at face value (and now I wonder whether I will be explaining that THIS comment isn't to be taken at face value either).

Maybe when these people say "I'd rather stick pins in my eyes" they actually do mean that that's what they want to do!

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Luiz for me is the captain of this side in JTs absence, Cahill has the armband but Luiz dictates a lot from the centre of the 3, as he should but the qualities he has, pace, strength and a powerhouse in the air, mixed with him not shrinking from responsibility, means, for me, hes captain.

We're very lucky though that in Azp, Luiz and Cahill you've got 3 potential captains anyway even if they dont have the armband.

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I'm not exaggerating when I say I think he's the best centre back in the league right now. I don't watch enough of other leagues but there can't be many better out there.

Reads the game very well, has an excellent first touch and range of passing with both feet, he's quick, powerful in the air... the icing on the cake is that he's now making better decisions. Knows when to punt, when a tactical foul might be needed. He's basically dictating our play, and there's very few defenders that can pull that off.

He's what, three months back? Such an influence. 

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10 minutes ago, spadefx said:

I'm not exaggerating when I say I think he's the best centre back in the league right now. I don't watch enough of other leagues but there can't be many better out there.

Reads the game very well, has an excellent first touch and range of passing with both feet, he's quick, powerful in the air... the icing on the cake is that he's now making better decisions. Knows when to punt, when a tactical foul might be needed. He's basically dictating our play, and there's very few defenders that can pull that off.

He's what, three months back? Such an influence. 

It's great to see. He's had a better impact on the team than any of us would have expected. He is playing this system brilliantly. Out of all of our defenders, he is understanding this system the best. He's probably the one who knows how to play it best in the whole team at the moment.

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That joke isn't funny anymore.

Last Sunday, as Chelsea confidently dispatched rivals Tottenham to put the final touches to their now-somehow-legitimate title chase, one man stayed on the pitch longer than any other. From the final whistle he headed straight to the Shed End to celebrate with the fans after anchoring his team to their seventh straight win.

Eighteen months prior, the same man was celebrating wildly at the same end of the same pitch, scoring the goal that knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League, setting in motion the hilarious run of form and abyss of confidence that cost them their title, their dignity, and their most iconic manager.

His eccentric return to embracing these fans epitomises his role in turning around Chelsea's fortunes. Just a year ago Stamford Bridge was in revolt, labelling half the squad 'rats' and spreading the toxic vibe towards even the quieter, more kindly squad members, who'd just kept their heads down through the worst championship defence in living memory. Now, the fans love them; and they especially love him.

David Luiz defies easy categorisation, and always has done. A hero, icon, and future captain to some? Yes. A fraud and a d**khead to most? Absolutely.

The Chelsea fans who were delighted at the £50m the club got for his transfer to PSG would have paid double that to have him back in the cold, leaderless slump of their impotent title defence. Rival fans who laughed at the £32m the club paid to retrieve him from exile in Paris will now be looking at their own marquee signings and wondering what they’ve paid for.

 

To say David Luiz has been a revelation since he came back to Chelsea plays too easily into the hands of those who unfairly savaged him in the past. He plays like a “10 year old on a Playstation”, said Gary Neville. “He is a liability for his team”, said Jamie Redknapp. “David Luiz,” said your Dad, poking his Carlsberg sloppily towards the TV, “is a useless twat.”

These same pundits, now forced to joylessly praise him every week, are waiting with baited breath for the price of admission - the David Luiz Glaring Mistake. A howling lapse in concentration. A stray backpass. An alert striker - Aguero, probably - taking advantage of the moment and rolling the ball easily into the net.

But it hasn't happened yet. Five games pass; ten, fifteen, still no mistake. Six clean sheets in a row. Still no mistake.

 

Obviously, this ‘has-a-mistake-in-him’ cliché hasn’t come from nowhere. Luiz has made costly mistakes in his career. Watching him chase German players around the pitch like a wide-eyed sixth former who heard someone at the party has weed remains one of the most harrowing sights most of us have ever witnessed in football.

The 7-1 final score is remembered not as the flourish of a truly great Germany team, but the total collapse of a Brazil side which put an unreliable, overrated clown at the centre of their plans.

But what of the clown?

Twitter banter merchants and your mate Joel, definitely-coming-up-with-this-on-the-spot, reckons he looks like Sideshow Bob, from The Simpsons. And it’s funny, because much like Sideshow Bob, David Luiz is a clown, and a laughing stock, and a fool.

These people don’t know their Simpsons at all. It’s worth bearing in mind that Sideshow Bob went from clown to killer after one brutal national humiliation too many, leaving him deadly motivated to prove everyone wrong.

That brutal night in Belo Horizonte fixed David Luiz, and it fixed him by breaking him.

Gone is the Playstation controller that sent him launching out of position chasing air, leaving his partner stranded at the back; in its place stands a mature and calm defensive presence. This is what Chelsea paid for.

 

Everyone knows all stats are completely useless, but here's some that make him look really, really good: his average pass length is 24.44 metres, compared to John Stones' 18.36 and Joel Matip's 18.92. His pass completion percentage is only bettered among Premier League centre backs by Stones, who completes almost double the amount of passes backwards - 18.82 to 10.22.

Whatever a "Key Pass" is, Luiz hits a lot of them - 0.33 per game. Laurent Koscielny sprays out a big fat zero. Pathetic.

There are loads of reasons why stats are even more pointless than usual here; all the top teams play differently, expect different things from their defenders, and most good defending happens off the ball.

The main reason, though, is that this is David Luiz we are talking about - you can't put a number on what he brings to the team. An attacking focal point and defensive stability, yes, but also some form of on-field passion and leadership that hasn't been abstracted through several jarring layers of weird idolisation and a decrepit, creaking pair of legs (Apologies to Mr. Terry, J).

Luiz is agony, patience, and ecstasy bound to flesh. He'll smash a free kick straight into the wall and shut down the resulting counter attack in the same leap. He'll elbow someone square in the face and sprint off to make a vital interception before trotting remorselessly back to accept his yellow card. He'll carry you to your first ever Champions League title with his hamstrings hanging on in a state somewhere between 'devastated' and 'f**ked', then leave for Paris so he can play with his mate.

Nobody will ever understand David Luiz; not statistics, not pundits, not the strained and bleeding achilles of any striker who ever dribbles past him. This is fine. You don't need to understand why he plays like a mad, unrelentingly beautiful bar steward to accept that he is brilliant - you're allowed to just enjoy it.

Open the curtains. Let a bit of light into your life. Stop hating David Luiz just because the man on the TV keeps telling you to.

 

https://www.joe.co.uk/sport/davidluiz/100798

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Love Luiz and was gutted when he left first time. I thought yesterday's match showed how street wise he is.  It's crucial and it will take us a long way. 

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