Cautious anticipation was what accompanied Antonio Conte’s arrival at Chelsea last summer as he set to work to improve Chelsea’s fortunes and restore the confidence of a squad that had just put the finishing touches on the worst season seen at Stamford Bridge in over two decades. One major signing, one loan returnee, and two deadline-day panic buys didn’t do much to alleviate our caution, and neither did back-to-back defeats to Liverpool and Arsenal in mid-September.
But as it turned out, not long after Conte declared that he had no “magic wand” to fix Chelsea’s ails, he did just that. According to one of the panic buys, returning hero and all-around adorable human being, David Luiz, one of the reasons Conte’s been able to do that is simply because he sees things most people don’t.
"He’s extremely meticulous. There isn’t a tiny detail he isn’t aware of. He’s the type of guy who sees things most people wouldn’t. In training he creates situations that he thinks could occur during the upcoming games – and it makes all the difference."
"He also knows how to motivate us and gives confidence to the whole squad. We all know that he trusts in our ability and one of his best qualities is that he treats everyone equally."
Cautious anticipation was also what accompanied David Luiz on his return from a two-year spell at Paris Saint-Germain, with lingering doubts from many corners of the media and Chelsea fandom expecting the worst of the ‘10-year-old on a Playerstation’-esque defender. But just as Gary Neville’s gone back to retract that hot take, David Luiz has won over many of his doubters with his assured displays at the heart of the three-man defense. His new position at the center of the line, with cover provided by both César Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, allows David Luiz to maximize his talents and minimize the impact of his shortcomings. The key to Conte’s system was finding the ideal positions for many of his key players (David Luiz, Hazard, the three midfielders, Victor Moses, etc.), which in at least a couple cases involved thinking outside the box and trying something drastically new and unexpected.
The move back to Stamford Bridge from Parc des Princes has also put David Luiz to within touching distance of completing an obsession that had bugged him ever since deciding to leave in 2014.
"You can’t predict these things, but I always left the door open for a possible return. There are moments in your career when you feel like a cycle has come to an end – and that’s what I thought when I left the club three years ago."
"I had already won several titles with Chelsea, played my part in a beautiful period in the club’s history and made so many friends. I thought it was time to move on, so I had no regrets. But things change quickly in football."
"Winning the Premier League has always been an obsession of mine. This is one of the toughest competitions in the world. We’ve worked hard to make this dream come true."
-David Luiz; Source: FourFourTwo
David Luiz is one of just four regular starters to not have a Premier League title to his name, joining, Pedro, Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso in that regard. If things unfold as expected in the final four games, they won’t have to obsess for too much longer.