When you consider the players that are most important to Chelsea’s system under Maurizio Sarri, the obvious names are Eden Hazard, Jorginho and maybe even Kepa Arrizabalaga. You certainly wouldn’t lean towards David Luiz, who despite playing practically every game for Chelsea this year, has somehow gone under the radar.
It’s particularly strange that that’s the case, given that Luiz will undeniably go down as a Chelsea legend. The Brazilian has won it all at Stamford Bridge, and he’s done with incredible leadership and passion. He’s a fan favourite, yet somehow, he’s underrated.
Of course, it speaks volumes that his long-term future at Stamford Bridge isn’t generating much talk, despite the fact that he has less than 6 months on his current contract. Fortunately for Chelsea, his recent comments, via the Evening Standard, have suggested that a new deal is likely, and that’s fantastic news, even if fans don’t recognise it.
After all, there’s no denying that Luiz has been one of Chelsea’s most useful players this term. He’s a regular under Maurizio Sarri, with Andreas Christensen taking a backseat at Stamford Bridge, and that’s despite the Brazilian’s lack of action under Antonio Conte. He’s been good value for that role, too, having impressed as a duo alongside German defender Antonio Rudiger.
He’s quick, he’s strong in the air, he’s a great tackler, and in a marked improvement from his previous time at Stamford Bridge, he’s cut mistakes out of his game almost entirely.
Perhaps one thing that makes him so useful to this Chelsea team, however, is his range of passing. His two assists this season go some way to highlighting that, given that it’s rare for a central defender to pop up with an assist, but his range of passing has allowed him to unleash players like Pedro and Eden Hazard further forward. Indeed, as per Who Scored, he’s bagged 15 key passes this term; whilst Rudiger has just 8.
Offensively, he’s a gem, but the lack of talk about him defensively is also significant. He’s kept his head down, and he’s worked hard, and for Chelsea he’s been so important. He’s let his football do the talking, and it’s no surprise that Christensen is being held back, given the Brazilian’s fine form.
When he does eventually leave, Chelsea will be worse off for it.