A Luiz cannon? Chelsea's Brazilian star still not convincing
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Paris Saint-Germain came firing out of the blocks in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday evening.
The French outfit looked hell bent on forcing Chelsea out of the tie, and they did so pretty convincingly, earning a 3-1 advantage ahead of their visit to Stamford Bridge.
Jose Mourinho’s side had been themselves in a fantastic position following just over an hour of play in Paris. Eden Hazard's penalty had cancelled out their opponent’s early opener, giving the Blues an away goal for their efforts.
However, disaster was soon to strike as David Luiz clumsily shinned bundled the ball into the back of his own net.
It was a cheap goal to concede. Luiz had been in error to concede the chance in the first place, giving away a needless foul out on the touchline - and he then compounded the mistake by diverting the cross into goal, to the astonishment of a bewildered Petr Cech.
This calamitous mistake rounded-off a poor game for the Brazilian, who at times looked completely out of sorts. Playing alongside Ramires in a holding midfield role, he was charged with shielding the Chelsea back-four and starting attacking moves whenever possible. The theory is that he would fill the void left by the absence of Nemanja Matic; unfortunately, he failed to perform in that role.
Ezequiel Lavezzi’s opening goal was borne out of a lapse of concentration by Luiz. He was dispossessed by Blaise Matuidi during the build up to the move, allowing PSG the opportunity to score within just three minutes.
Despite this early error, Luiz’s presence in the midfield proved a stabilising factor for Chelsea in the first half. He played 29 accurate passes during this period – more than any other player on his team. He also won three tackles, and completed one of two attempted take-ons. Throughout the opening period he gave the Blues a certain strength in midfield, playing in a more sensible style than we've been accustomed to seeing from him.
David Luiz Passes
In the second half, however, he fell to pieces with his usual haphazard play. This volatility reached its peak when he suffered a considerable lapse of concentration during phase leading to his own goal.
While trying to shepherd a PSG move out at the corner, he clumsily gave away a free kick. This reckless decision invited needless danger for the Chelsea back-four, and Luiz was punished as a result. Chelsea had done so well to defend tightly against a magnificent PSG frontline and this free kick proved their undoing.
He experienced considerably less possession throughout the second half than he had in the first 45 minutes, something which clearly saw him become frustrated. This attitude was reflected in his game as he became increasingly reckless.
We saw him being more daring in possession, upping the ante with increased attempts to take on opponents with the ball at his feet. He successfully dribbled past two players after the break, taking his match total to three – a success rate of 75%.
David Luiz Take-Ons
By full-time, he had given away five fouls - and, unforgivably, failed to make a single successful tackle during the second half. Three of his failed challenges came from ill-advised tackles inside the PSG half, in situations where there was very limited danger to Chelsea - a factor Luiz seemingly failed to realise. His yellow card in the final ten minutes capped off an out-of-sorts second half display.
David Luiz Tackles
Luiz’s passing is was the only element of his game that proved consistent throughout. Over the 90 minutes he recorded an accuracy of 90%, having successfully found a team-mate on 44 occasions.
Ultimately, though, it seems he lacks maturity and this showed throughout his display. There can be no doubting he has the skills to be a top quality player, it is just a case of having the correct mentality.
Of course, at the age of 26 and with over three years at Chelsea under his belt already, you'd have expected this maturing process to be complete already. But it's yet to occur - and Chelsea will now be wondering if it is ever going to happen.
Thus it is little surprise that the Brazilian is one of many Chelsea players who reportedly face being sold in the summer months. The Blues are reportedly preparing a mass clear-out, with ten or more players expected to leave.
The arrival of Nemanja Matic in January made David Luiz a spare part in the Stamford Bridge set-up, and Mourinho could look to cash in if another club show an interest in his services.
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