Is it a bird, is it a plane? No, it’s David Luiz on one of his unchartered forays forward from the back. Chelsea fans who thought they’d seen the last of the Brazilian’s unique brand of defending are in for a shock.
Buying back Luiz this summer almost caused as much astonishment down the King’s Road as it did when Paris Saint-Germain crossed Chelsea palms with £50m to take their divisive defender to France two years ago.
Considering his rather cavalier attitude to the art of centre-back play, there was more than a slight suspicion that Blues boss Antonio Conte had earmarked a defensive midfield gig for Luiz instead, a relative safe haven for the Brazilian and a role he’s not unused to playing.
However, that hypothesis has now been put to bed by Conte himself. The former Juventus gaffer told Chelsea TV: “I think David Luiz is a centre back, he’s played a lot of games in that position.”
“I know sometimes he’s played as a central midfielder but in my mind the idea is to utilise him in the right position which, for me, is centre back.”
According to whoscored.com, in his five-and-a-half seasons since leaving Benfica the 29-year-old has only completed just shy of two tackles per game on average in league football.
Winning Ligue I with PSG in successive seasons has been a stroll in truth, while crunch time in the Champions League proved a step beyond the perennial quarter-finalists once more.
Luiz does possess attributes of course, he is decent in the air, reads the game well and takes a mean free-kick.
But as his country’s 7-1 mauling by Germany at the last World Cup showed, when Luiz skippered the Selecao at centre-half, he can court disaster.
Next opponents Swansea will surely be hoping the summer’s second-biggest re-signing of the summer makes his second Chelsea debut at the Liberty Stadium this Sunday.
Although the Blues have started well under Conte, the Welsh club took the points last season and given he comes in on the breeze that is Ligue 1, the potential shock to the system could make Luiz riper than usual for a mistake.
The Swans are chunky 4/1-chances to inflict a first Premier League defeat on Conte.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.