Chelsea went top of the Premier League on Sunday after a sixth consecutive win and sixth consecutive clean sheet, Middlesbrough the latest victims of a run that began with half-time tactical change in the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal.
Much of the team's success can be attributed to defensive solidity; Chelsea have yet to concede a league goal since switching to the 3-4-3. The three-man defensive line’s anchor has been none under than deadline day signing David Luiz, the former Chelsea player returning to Stamford Bridge to plenty of fanfare and joy but also plenty of headlines and comments questioning his abilities and the club’s sanity.
The man whose football was once likened to a “10-year old playing a Playstation”, has earned plenty of praise recently (including from the author of that famous comment, Gary Neville) just as Chelsea, in general, have, but he knows that the road ahead is still very long.
"We are happy. We are doing an amazing job, but we need to keep our feet on the floor with humility because every game is a tough game. It's a tough game when you play here [at Middlesbrough], everyone knows, so we are happy because we did a great job, especially on the defensive side."
"It's a good three points and the first time this season we are top of the league. But we need to understand it's just the beginning."
On Sunday, David Luiz brought his usual blend of pace, power, and positioning, dominating the Chelsea defensive box with his massive hair and leaping ability. Luiz was credited with 8 clearances, 7 of those coming with headers, most on the day from either team. (Boro’s Ben Gibson had 10 total clearances, but only 5 with his head.)
"I just try to do my best, it doesn't matter which position I play. I think everybody understood about this philosophy - that's why we are doing well. The spirit is amazing and when you have this team spirit, this makes the difference. I am happy to play for this team and I am happy to be part of this family."
With Chelsea on top for the first time in 18 months, the natural talk is about titles and winning streaks. David Luiz thinks it’s too early for all that, but isn’t afraid to point out the obvious.
"It's important to finish at the top of the league. Of course we are happy, but it's too early to speak about [the title]. It's important in the last game to finish at the top of the league. That's our goal."
-David Luiz; source: Chelsea TV via Daily Mail