We’ve all had a good laugh trying to figure out what David Luiz is doing back at Chelsea, under a coach who was thought to value his centre-halves’ ability to defend above all else.
Antonio Conte’s colossal three-man centre-back line of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini, all of whom played under the former Juventus coach in Turin, earned massive plaudits for Italy at Euro 2016, so similar was expected at Stamford Bridge.
With John Terry, Gary Cahill and Kurt Zouma already in situ, the likes of tough-tackling Serie A pair Kalidou Koulibaly and Nikola Maksimovic were rumoured to be on the 47-year-old’s radar, so Luiz’s deadline-day capture is a bona fide curve ball for football pundits.
A popular early theory says Luiz will be the conduit between centre-half and midfield in a 3-5-2/5-3-2, allowing Nemanja Matic – who began his career in more attacking roles – to push forward without leaving a gap.
It’s sure to be interesting, as Blues stopper Thibaut Courtois suggested with a grin during a press conference on Belgium duty, and there’s a nice bet on the table from Ladbrokes to make the west-London reunion even more so.
The bookies go 9/4 about Luiz getting sent off at any time this season for Chelsea, which stands a decent chance of landing.
Such generous odds are surely based on the fact that Luiz didn’t see red in either his two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain, or the three-and-a-half years previously with Chelsea.
He always skirts close to the edge though, picking up a whopping 18 cautions during the 2012/13 campaign and 42 in total during his first stint in England.
Another 24 yellow cards were added at PSG, 13 last term, when the 27-year-old Canarinho regular risked his international future with a late, studs-up challenge in a 1-1 draw against Germany. He hasn’t played for Brazil since.
New rules regarding tussles at corners have already caused problems in the Premier League and it surprise would few if Luiz was caught in that net when the campaign returns.
At 9/4, the red card looks safe.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.