6 goals in 61 games in a Chelsea kit, no you aren’t reading Fernando Torres’ stat line, that is the goal tally of center back David Luiz. The Brazilian has proven himself a valuable asset for the blues, and this season has been one of their most reliable players.
When the defender made his reported 25 million euro move to Chelsea from Benfica, many including myself thought Chelsea were overpaying for a defender. However, during his time at the club he has more than made fools of those thinking he had been overvalued.
Luiz is a big, strong, quick central defender. You don’t find many center backs out there with all three qualities.This season, he has emerged as Chelsea’s secret weapon – always capable of producing spectacular goals, Luiz has become more than a player worthy of producing a highlight.
This campaign he has started playing a more defensive role, proving his critics wrong. Previously it always seemed he wanted to push forward rather than hold and perform his defensive duties at the back, but this season he has improved considerably and become a guaranteed starter in the Chelsea squad.
In some games this year, Rafa Benitez has opted to shift him up a bit on the pitch and play him at a central defensive midfield role, there it seems his play style is suited best. Luiz may not be the best defender on the team, or the best holding midfielder on the team, but he is one of the most versatile players. But where does he play best?
In 31 games this season as a central defender he has 3 goals and 3 assists and as a central defensive midfielder he has 2 goals in 8 games with no assists. But although he has seemingly produced less when in a central defensive midfield role, what goes unnoticed is his leadership and play making ability.
Chelsea usually look more confident with him on the field. He has the ability to play key passes from keep in the middle of the field, and as said before he has the ability to produce a highlight reel, screamer of a goal. But many also feel he is undisciplined and somewhat immature. He is prone to making silly fouls, and his chuckling at fellow Brazilian Rafael when he was sent off for a challenge on Luiz made him an easy target for criticism.
But forget all of the arguments, the question marks that surround where he is most effective on the field, the criticism of how much he attacks for a center defender. David Luiz is a player Chelsea can’t afford to lose. This season may be over, but Luiz’s impact on Chelsea has just begun.