Opinion: How important is David Luiz to Arteta’s Arsenal?

David Luiz has been an integral first-team player since joining Arsenal from Chelsea last summer, but it hasn’t been plain sailing.

The Brazilian has come under the spotlight for suspect defending under Unai Emery, has been slammed for disgraceful dismissals, two of which came in very important fixtures with Chelsea and Manchester City, while he has also been praised for improvements under the new boss Mikel Arteta.

Despite the 33 year-old coming in for criticism and being slammed for shocking errors, he has remained a first-team player (when fit and not suspended of course).

We’ve now seen the new boss opt to switch the formation to favour the inclusion of Luiz, while accommodating the need for the extra protection of having him in defence, so why is he so integral to our side?

One would think that a centre-back had to be the player you rely on to make those last ditch tackles, and remain strong and focused in your defence, but that is not something that this experienced man can be relied on consistently.

Luiz is the man that you want on the ball to start of the counter-attack, the man that not only reads intelligently how best to carve open the out-of-shape defence, but can pick out a 40-yard pass and absolutely nail it.

He also represents a leader on the pitch, despite his errors, and is one that the players look up to for guidance, and as he showed after all-but gifting Manchester City the win after the resumption of football, is more than able to admit to his mistakes, and work on them.

His performance against City this weekend, in denying the free-flowing attacking force that they are any space to open up our defence to harm Emiliano Martinez in goal was simply outstanding.

Credit where credit it due, David Luiz can be the glue that holds a defence together, but it seems he just cant be one of only two centre-backs relied upon to clean up the mess.

Is Luiz the reason we have had to change formation to a back five? Will Arteta be forced to stick with the system in the long-term? Would a goalkeeper with more leadership qualities nullify the need for David in our side?


Tags David Luiz


  1. David Luiz on his day is one of the best defenders in world football,a very good ball playing centre back. his only problem is the loss of concentration at times and his only weakness for me is the lack of pace.
    His leadership qualities alone would not make Mikel bench him. I can’t imagine him on the bench when fit, he has been more good than bad this season people are just overly critical sometimes.

    I am glad we have him…

    1. “……only problem is loss of concentration.
      ……. only weakness is pace.”

      Those are 2 big issues too many to have by 1 player already.

  2. As long as he plays like he did in Chelsea, he is welcome. Centerman i a 3-CB line, with two WB:s. I think Asn’l should play with five defenders this season through. Safety first. Defending is all. With players like Auba, Laca and Pepe there will always be chances for scoring goals. We have lost so many points during 2019-20 campaign just because we have been unable to defend a lead. Fourteen ties (14!) is 7 too much. If we had won seven more matches instead of playing 1-1 – it would mean 53 points plus 14… And here comes Johnny Einstein! That’s 67 points! Something else, I would say. 20-7-9 so far, with two left. Gunners had ended third.

  3. Arteta, just like Guardiorla has always played a back 3. People call it a back 5, but in essence, it’s more offensive than a back 4 while also remaining defensively solid.

    In a back 3, the fullbacks have a shorter distance to travel to join the attack and thus it’s as much a front 5 as it is a back 5 .

    Before the break, Arteta was doing this by dropping Xhaka into LCB role every time we had the ball, allowing Bukayo to go ham creatively. It’s just more direct now with 3 permanent CBs

  4. One swallow does not make a summer as they say, and while Luis was excellent against Man City,he has let the team down this season on numerous occasions.That said, he is undoubtedly a leader and seems to have the respect of his team mates and his Manager who work with him on a daily basis.The article correctly highlights the fact that Luis is far more comfortable in the centre of a back three than one of two CBs in a flat back four.His lack of pace in one for one situations is clear to all and while I can understand why Arteta has extended his contract for one season ,he is not the rock we need in the centre of defence .

    1. So true, Grandad..

      We’ve been here before and one or two good performances don’t change a thing if he has some more of those “moments to forget”.

      It’s about consistency and we need much more of that from all the team!!

    2. Hes had a long successful career that had very few mistakes, penalties conceded or red cards. I agree with Pep prior to the game and laugh out loud at his critics.

      City the 1st was his only horror show. Just after restart with his contract up in the air and at that point we were talking extension to finish this season being up in the air not just next year. Chelsea red card was on Mustafi.

      1. Luiz won the CL playing in a back 4 for chelsea. A success that was built purely on Chelseas defence.

        1. Just to be clear luiz was MOTM in Cheseas 2nd leg last 16 comeback from 3-1 down against napoli 5-4 aet. MOTM in their 1st leg quarter final 0-1 win away to Benfica injured until the final where he played the entire game in the 1-1 draw with Bayern and scored his penalty in the shootout that crowned Chelsea champions of Europe.

  5. Overall, he’s been on the poor side for us. Very rash, and costly at times, but can also be brilliant…and that’s the problem! No consistency!

    1. He won the league and every cup in Portugal, England and France. Player of the year in Portugal. Team of the year England, France and Europe. Champions league and Europa. Not bad for inconsistant.

  6. He’s not the future, and is hardly the present. Still dont understand the year extension. He’s been inconsistent throughout his entire career. Mustafi is also inconsistent. Cant have two inconsistent CBs in a team that is trying to get UCL qualification, can you?

  7. Luiz is and has been a far better player than people give him credit for but he is and has been liable for huge mistakes for all the teams he has played for. In fairness to him, he never hides, has great ability and has great knowledge of the game. If he can be more like he has been since the city horror show, then we are lucky to have him, he has been central to our improvement. I wonder if maybe he and Saliba could make a good partnership and he a good mentor for him. The thing with Luiz is he has talent but he also has brain farts, if he can keep the brain farts to a minimum, maybe his extra year could be beneficial to Arsenal.

  8. By keeping Luis for another season, is Arteta committed to selling at least two of his current centre backs to accommodate the talented Saliba? If so, who are the likely departures?

  9. Maybe he’s not the best defender in the world, but we need to recognize that as the last point of defense in the team – with many known deficiencies – he is often exposed unnecessarily by players in front of him. It is no wonder he played his best games last week against Liverpool and City when the team were clearly committed to playing defense. He is also a highly respected member of the dressing room, particularly with the young players, and in this regard, should be a good mentor for young Saliba.

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