Let’s look at David Luiz’s Arsenal legacy – The good and the bad

What Is David Luiz’s Legacy? by Dan Smith

 

In the summer of 2019 even fans who didn’t care about Arsenal were aware the club were in need of a world class centre back.

It says everything about our ambition that at the end of the transfer. window we had somehow made the position weaker, replacing Koscielny with David Luiz.

Such was the disappointment in how our captain left, it overshadowed the fact that yet again the club had taken the cheap option.

In only his third game for us, the Brazilian conceded a penalty at Anfield. He did the same at the Bridge (where he also got sent off) and the Etihad (sent off also), at Selhurst Park and at home and away to Watford.

One player had never given away so many spot kicks in one season in the history of the Prem. He added another pen and red card to his CV this campaign at Molineux. So in two years in North London he got more red cards and conceded more pens then his six years at Chelsea.

For a while that seemed to be his legacy at The Emirates. Some might say it still is.

Others felt sorry for the 34-year-old. It’s not like Unai Emery didn’t know what he was getting. Even in his prime the defender had a reputation for making too many mistakes. Even if playing well he was always capable of a lapse in concentration

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Garry Neville famously described watching him as ‘ like playing FIFA’, based on the talent great in possession, a fantastic long range passer and always wanting to join in with attacks. Ironically, it was the art of defending he seemed less keen on.

The turning point in his Arsenal career came in the first fixture back after lockdown. Coming off the bench, Luiz had the worst approx. 20 min cameo possible. His error gifted Sterling a goal then after half time he gave away a penalty before his red card.

This disaster, combined with uncertainty over his future led many pundits to suggest he had played his last game in the red and white shirt.

While discussing ‘Project Restart’ it was unclear where all parties stood in terms of their contracts. Covid had meant the season would be extended past the date deals expired.

Luiz showed great character by immediately fronting the Sky Cameras and taking the blame for the 3-0 defeat confessing ‘I shouldn’t have played’. Although it wasn’t clear if he was referencing not being 100 percent fit or not in the right frame of mind with his future up in the air.

Eventually he agreed to extend his stay on a reduced salary.

Then something strange happened. A month later Luiz was a colossus in the FA Cup Semi Final 3 days after doing the same against the Champions Liverpool. He repeated that level of display in the FA Cup Final against his former employers.

At the Final whistle at Wembley while others celebrated, he calmly walked over and consoled ex-teammates. It was class but also indicative of the person. Luiz never got too low when criticised but equally was not getting carried away when things were going well.

He also spoke well afterwards claiming he wanted to help take ‘this club back where it deserves to be .’

Although he will always be associated more with Chelsea, here was a man talking with the knowledge of football, aware that Arsenal were a big name in the sport and focused on helping us.

Those who followed his career will not be surprised that his 2 best games as a Gooner came in his two most important. You could argue his best for Chelsea was in a Champions League Final.

Despite constant mockery, you don’t win every domestic trophy in three countries and 2 Europa Leagues and a Champions League without being good at your job. David Luiz made a living out of proving people wrong.

That’s his legacy the day he retires. But what’s his legacy at Arsenal?

As recently as January after being named Man of the Match against Man United, he spoke about the need to be ‘humble’. This is someone I want our youngsters to be listening too.

Equally after Emery was sacked, I noticed Luiz played like a man that was angry and embarrassed by our position in the table.

Quite simply, Luiz was one of the few leaders we had in the dressing room and it’s a shame we hadn’t signed him a few years earlier.

Almost to clarify his leadership qualities, it’s believed Arteta was open to keeping him for a third year but wanted his defender to transition into a coaching role. That shows how much our manager values Luiz’s presence that he wanted to find ways to keep him around the place. It’s also an admission that the training pitch will be a weaker place without Luiz around.

Leadership is valuable, it’s not something you can teach.

Luiz’s refusal highlights he still thinks he has a couple of years left at the highest level. It makes zero sense to either party to rush him back to fitness meaning he’s played his final game at Arsenal and maybe English Football period.

Not that he can’t one day return and be part of Arteta’s staff (if the Spaniard is still in charge of course).

David Luiz didn’t fix Arsenal defensively. In the twilight of his career it was naive for anyone to expect him too. What he did do though is mentor a youthful dressing room and set standards.

While some will feel he was another Chelsea cast off, given to us because he was past his best, his professionalism and work rate could never be questioned.

Popular among the squad, he wasn’t here for a final pay day.

We have won 14 FA Cups in our history and he can always say he played a massive part in one of them. For 8 million, that’s not too bad.

The biggest compliment to give Luiz is we missed him in the semi-Final of the Europa League. That’s because he’s a big game player!

 

Thank You David Luiz (there were times I didn’t think I would be saying that!)

 

Be Kind In The Comments

 

Dan

Tags Arsenal big-game player Chelsea Luiz

25 Comments

  1. Highbury Hero says:

    One of the few players I always wished to see at Arsenal. Glad he came even if it was in the end of his playing days.

    I enjoyed watching him at Arsenal regardless of his performance good or bad.

    1. Highbury Hero says:

      Beat you to it gai.

      1. gotanidea says:

        How’d you know I was about to post

        Just want to add that we’ve got too many CBs waiting for their turns behind Luiz, so Luiz’s departure is justified

        1. Admin Pat says:

          Hey GAI,
          Where were you yesterday, we all missed you!

          1. gotanidea says:

            Yesterday’s opinion piece wasn’t interesting to me, so I slept

        2. Highbury Hero says:

          “How’d you know I was about to post”

          0 comments is a cue.

    2. Sue says:

      He was the only Chav I liked, HH!!

      Bar the couple of times I could’ve quite easily throttled him, I enjoyed his time with us 😄

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        Yes Sue, here is to hoping our young defenders have benefitted from his mentorship and it will elevate their performances.

  2. gotanidea says:

    He’s the best Arsenal CB in aerial and ground duels, but unfortunately he’s made many errors and slow. I think Arsenal signed senior players like Willian and him to share their experience to the younger players, so Luiz has served the purpose of his signing and at least he’s given us a trophy

    Hopefully he’s serious about coaching, because I’d like to see him as Arsenal manager in the future

  3. SueP says:

    A previous article set the tone about Luiz as well. There is clearly more to being a successful player than just what happens on the pitch. Such an untimely injury to end his career at Arsenal too

  4. Stephanie says:

    Wish he was staying for another year. Easily one of our best players

  5. Loose Cannon says:

    he played like a lunatic, lost more points then gained, 8 million flushed down the drain.Another example of mediocrity, one or two average games in a season, and so many singing his praise. Happy he is a gonener now. Evans would have been a better choice any day any game. I fault Mikel for renewing his contract. Good riddance to utter bad rubbish.
    Off topic, read that Xhaka too wants a move away. That’s music to my ears and a mirage to my eyes.

  6. Declan says:

    Very best of luck whenever you go next David and thanks for the good times. Yes there were a few mistakes but tell me a player who doesn’t cock up occasionally. I always like a character and you certainly have character in abundance, cheers👏.

  7. Grandad says:

    Regardless of what you think of him as a player in the twilight of his career, David Luis was a character and a leader who could well go on to become a very good Manager should be decide to go down that route.Who knows he could be a future Arsenal Manager.Along with Holding, I thought they were our best CB pairing but sadly, they did not play that often together partly because our Manager signed two left footed CB’s neither of whom have impressed me.I wish David Luis all the best.

  8. Sean Williams says:

    In his prime he was a top player. He is still a good footballer, but in general his urgency has gone and he does not deal with frenetic games well. We need a more urgent team, who have fast forward moving, dominating attributes. Not sure Arteta can create that.

  9. Reggie says:

    Proved all the doubters wrong, he ended up being a model professional, our best defender, helped our defence and our younger players. Top player and stood up to be counted, kudos to him.

  10. Almaria says:

    Really Liked David Luiz, hope stays has we always do well with him, and he is good at organising things, should also stay to coach the young ones in defence

  11. Andrew Elder says:

    Perhaps the only real leader we’ve had in the past few years. Made mistakes but always gave 100% and, I suspect, had a good influence on the younger players. I, for one, will miss him and wish him well and, like Grandad, believe he could become a good manager.

  12. Tactical Gunner says:

    FYI, as par of the rebuilding process we have the 3rd best defense.. Considering where we are coming from defensively, that’s an improvement that can be built on

  13. RW1 says:

    Let’s not … just part of the downward trend in AFC

  14. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    But I remember when Evans was totally thumbed down on here by countless Gooners not to be signed when Arsene Wenger wanted to sign him. So, us Gooners too can make mistakes in misleading the club. Or didn’t us?

    To David Luiz. Why don’t him reconsider his objection not to join Mikel Arteta’s coaching staff next season? But join them and ask for one year extension to his expiring extended deal this season at the club I would suggest to him.

    And if he asked and the club agreed, he can use the new one year given to him to still be playing for the club and also get his coaching badges at the club if he hasn’t gotten them while he’s still playing for Arsenal but sparingly in matches. But when the manager deemed him fit enough to be able to play very well and if he can still be able to play at the top level of the game consistently.

    If it is true that Arsenal still want to keep you David Luiz, why don’t you accept to continue to remain with the club but as player/coaching-learner? Don’t go to Benfica your dream club side you are reported to have said, you will like to play for them in your lifetime. But continue to stay with Arsenal. Sorry, I am not disrespecting you.

  15. Pirate Dandy says:

    Was a proper captain.

  16. Sue says:

    Great article, Dan 👍

  17. RSH says:

    Nice guy, has cost us vital points in vital matches though. Has had some big displays in big games too. So evens out to him being overall okay, but not enough to stop our decline as a club unfortuantely. I wouldn’t pick on him as being one of the players who do not care though which i think is the bigger problem at Arsenal.

  18. Kobin says:

    And he is funny too. Remember putting his hand on his head when Auba dropped the FA Cup last year? Was probably saying, “this not the way to do it mate!”

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