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?