Chelsea must resist the urge to turn David Luiz into a defensive midfield player.
David Luiz has stepped out of the Chelsea defence at times this season, becoming a midfield man, the sort of player who breaks up the play and protects the defence against different attacking threats.
It’s a role he’s done very well because he quite often gives in to his midfield instincts anyway, breaking away from the defence and trying to get into the other half of the pitch, which probably makes his teammates and manager furious.
However, his best position has always been as a central defender and he’s getting better with every game in that role, as he adapts and continues to learn more about the Premier League and English football.
Chelsea have to keep him there because they don’t have anyone more effective when it comes to moving the ball out from central defence, into the midfield, which gets it up to the strikers.
The reason he’s so good at this particular part of the game has to be to do with his Brazilian heritage and upbringing. He simply loves to get on the ball and get the side moving as an attacking unit.
Another reason Chelsea have to resist the urge to move him out of central defence is because of the way he commands the back four and provides that immense physical presence.
That is particularly relevant against the bigger sides in the Premier League, that always try to bully better football sides out of a game using their immense physical presence and big players.
Take that away from the Chelsea back four and it becomes substantially weakened in a physical sense. Gary Cahill is good enough to maintain this element of their play but there’s no one better at it than David Luiz.
He’s very quick, which is another reason to keep him there because of the high line that he sometimes forces the Chelsea defence to play, against strikers who can exploit it.
What his pace allows him to do is get back into position quickly if he’s caught up the field and he can also compensate for others who are out of position, getting over to wide areas and filling in at full back when he needs to.
Chelsea captain John Terry is not getting any younger and Frank Lampard is more than likely going to move on this summer, which means Chelsea need a focal point in their side.
David Luiz has called for the chance to be given the extra responsibility of the captain’s armband this season and if he stays in the middle of the defence, he’s a natural choice to become the next permanent captain of the club.
He doesn’t complain, he doesn’t whinge, you rarely read about him relating to something not connected to football and he’s matured as a defender since he first came into the team.
Chelsea fans, would you like to see him moved out of defence?
image: © Ben Sutherland