In his second stint at Chelsea, after joining Paris Saint-Germain for a couple seasons in the summer of 2014, Brazilian defender David Luiz has quickly become an integral part of the Chelsea starting lineup once again, and this time even without all the distracting noise from pundist and the like about his weaknesses and unreliablities.
Deployed at the heart of the three-man backline, the 29-year-old is enjoying the adoration of the Chelsea fans once again, and of course the chance to add a piece of key silverware missing from his trophy cabinet.
"I had great years here [at Chelsea] before I moved to Paris. I love this club and I think that my return means there is more to add to my history here."
"I did not win the Premier League in my first stint and this is an objetive I have now. I want to help in whatever capacity I can to earn this tournament. And [manager Antonio] Conte has been great in that regard."
While David's addition to our corps of defenders has had a major positive impact on our results this season, the arrival of head coach Antonio Conte in the SW6 has undoubtedly had an even bigger influence. All Conte’s done so far is take a squad that finished 10th in the league last season to the top of Premier League table at the halfway point, and by a two-game margin at that on the back of a 13-game winning streak from October to December.
"[Conte] is one of the best coaches I have ever worked with. He knows very well every characteristic from his players and the group follows everything he tells us to do on the pitch."
"We quickly grasped his football philosophy and the system he likes to play. He helped us understand even more that collective dedication to a system is key so individual play can stand out."
"He is a coach that loves what he does and this affects us all, as we also love football. Every training session and every game is a demonstration of how to win, and competing is mighty important for him. So for us, the motivation to keep ourselves in focus is always high."
Chelsea's 3-4-3 system might have lost a bit of its early head of steam lately, with our opponents learning how to best counter our tactics, but the fundamentals the squad has acquired during that run will surely stay with the players regardless of any future tactical tweaks.
"We know how to play with and without the ball, when attacking or defending. If we don't have the ball, everyone knows how to defend and with the ball in our possession, every player has a good grasp of his role to support our attacking forays."
-David Luiz; Source: ESPN Brasil
With the winning run ended in 13 games, it is now time to start a new one. Chelsea remain top of the league, five points clear of second place, and firmly in control of their own destiny.