Is David Luiz’s place under threat for Chelsea?
Daniel Anwar | 30 November 2018
Defender looked like his old self against Spurs
Maurizio Sarri will have plenty of things to mull over after Chelsea’s awful display in their 3-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.
The Blues weren’t at the races and were fortunate Spurs didn’t take more of their chances at Wembley. The defeat leaves Chelsea 28/1 outsiders for the title, though they’re still 3/10 to finish in the top four.
Sarri said after the game that he wasn’t pleased with any of his player’s performances. But he may be especially concerned about David Luiz in central defence.
The Brazilian had looked a good fit for Sarri’s passing style. But a few of the old errors have crept back in lately. Could his place be at risk?
Luiz arguably had a part to play in all three goals the Blues conceded on Saturday.
He conceded the free kick that Dele Alli scored the opener from. The 31-year-old seemed to move out of the way of Harry Kane’s long-range shot for the second, leaving Kepa Arrizabalaga helpless in goal.
After making an error for the second, he seemed determined to make amends. But that enthusiasm saw him race out to meet Son Heung-Min, only for the Spurs star to easily slip past him. With Luiz miles out of position, Son made no mistake to find the bottom corner.
The former Paris Saint-Germain ace also made a similar error against Manchester United last month, allowing Juan Mata to beat him and set up Anthony Martial to score.
In Andreas Christensen, Chelsea have a defender who’s ready to step in if given a chance. The young centre-back was one of the few bright spots for the club last season. But he’s not seen a minute of top-flight action under Sarri.
He’s been making noises about his frustration this term. If the Denmark international doesn’t get a chance soon, he could be tempted to find playing time elsewhere.
AC Milan have been linked with him lately. But after losing the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Mohamed Salah due to a lack of opportunities, the West Londoners could be reluctant to let a similar situation arise again.
Luiz probably isn’t a long-term option at this stage of his career, while Christensen could be at the club for many years to come. If persisting with Luiz means losing a talent with huge potential, the higher-ups at the club may pressure Sarri to make a change.
Is it worth sticking with him?
One of the arguments for sticking with Luiz is that he’s played every minute of league football alongside Antonio Rudiger this season.
Kepa is still adjusting to a new team and league. The big-money signing would benefit from having a stable defence in front of him, so he can get used to how they operate.
Luiz is also very comfortable on the ball. He’s able to bring it out from the back or pick out a pass, very handy attributes to have in a side that prize possession like Chelsea.
But if his displays cost the side more points, there’ll come a time when Sarri will have to make a change. With a West London derby on the horizon, he’ll need to show he deserves to be in the starting XI.
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