Several Chelsea fans took to Twitter during the game against Tottenham on Sunday to vent their frustration at David Luiz’s performance.
Left with just two fit midfielders, Antonio Conte elected to play David Luiz in the heart of Chelsea’s midfield, alongside N’Golo Kante and Tiemoue Bakayoko, as the Italian tested a new 3-5-1-1 formation. However, minutes into the fierce London derby, some Chelsea fans were scratching their eyes out at what was unfolding before them on their television screens.
For example, @brozz1e was forced to watch the match from behind the comfort of his sofa after seeing Luiz make a string of silly mistakes in midfield…
Looks like David Luiz of old in midfield, looks a liability and makes me very nervous every time the ball goes to him.
— Paul Brosnan (@brozz1e) August 20, 2017
Meanwhile, @scentm called for David Luiz to be put out of his misery before he did any more damage to his team’s chances of getting their first three point of the season…
The ‘David Luiz in midfield’ experiment needs taking round the back and shooting in the head. Twice. At point-blank range. #pleasenomore
— IamSiegeFace (@scentm) August 20, 2017
Now, up until the 38th minute, I agreed with these tweets, as dramatic as they are. David Luiz was a huge liability in the Chelsea midfield: he fouled players countless times, he gave away possession by launching wayward 50-yard passes, and he attempted to win challenges that, simply, weren’t there to be won. Why had Conte put the Brazilian in midfield?!
However, everything seemed to change after David Luiz was booked. Upon receiving a yellow card from Anthony Taylor, the makeshift midfielder appeared to undergo a positive transformation, or an epiphany of sorts. No longer was the 30-year-old making a clown of himself in midfield. Instead, the Brazilian seemed to have an air of maturity about his game, something which had been missing in the opening 38 minutes of the derby.
Rather than giving away silly fouls, Luiz was very efficient and neat when tackling the opposition. Also, he didn’t give away half as many fouls and won the ball with clean, fair challenges that Claude Makelele himself would have been proud of.
Yet what’s more, when Luiz had nicked the ball off a Tottenham player, he did not look to find an audacious pass or find the nearest pair of open legs to nut-meg. No, he elected to play simple passes to the players around him in complete opposite to what he had been doing only minutes earlier. Was this the same player?
Although you never know which David Luiz you are going to get when the Brazilian turns up on the pitch, there is no denying that the defender has the skill and intelligence to play as a midfielder. As a result, the bushy-haired Brazilian is a legitimate option for Antonio Conte in the middle of the park for this season.
However, he just might need to get the 30-year-old booked before he discovers the player that helped Chelsea get over the line against Spurs on Sunday…