Ignoring the two-year break he took from the Drama of Stamford Bridge, David Luiz is the longest-serving player in the Chelsea first-team. He’s certainly seen and experienced plenty of ups and downs, from the brightest lights of the Champions League to the darkest corners of Conte’s doghouse.
As one of the oldest players, that latter episode is surely making him appreciate Maurizio Sarri even more, especially as the new man in charge not only shares his life philosophy, but has once again made David central to Chelsea’s hopes and dreams, successes and failures. It’s a second (third?) chance that few thought David Luiz would get, and he’s enjoying every minute of it.
“I think when you are a leader, you try to give that for the others. Sarri is our leader, he tries to show us what he wants to do and that’s it. We follow him. We just try to enjoy, to do our best and try to win some games.
“I think life is also about that. If you are not happy about something then you have to change so this is the main thing you have to do every single day. It is one of the best jobs in the world. So we try to train hard every day, to train with discipline, to try to play with responsibility but also happiness. Of course, he has his philosophy and he tries to show us every single day. We try to improve ourselves and the team. We are trying to do it. The results are coming because we are working hard every single day.
“I am so happy also because he is a great human. He knows how to teach us, how to improve us, when he is like that then it is easy to understand him and to try to be fantastic inside the pitch. I think I had the opportunity to play in many fantastic squads and I won with a great teams and lost in great teams. I think this team is trying to improve every day.”
David Luiz may not be the captain of the group, but he’s certainly a spiritual leader, the closest physical embodiment of the “Fun” (with a capital F) part of Sarri-ball. And few things are more fun than winning.
Against Burnley, the winning part was easy and straightforward. Against BATE, 72 hours prior, it wasn’t much harder either. That Chelsea managed both without Eden Hazard is not a bad thing.
“We have many talented players here, not just Eden [...] this is a big club and at a big club, you cannot just play with 11 players. You have to have a minimum of 18 or 19 players ready to play and we are happy because we have more than 20. This is why you try to prepare well during pre-season to be ready during the season.
”During the season anything can happen, some injuries, some players not being well, many things can happen. We try to do our best and answer every question. Thursday [against BATE] was almost another team playing but with the same mentality, spirit and happiness.”
-David Luiz; source: Goal
Those words echoed his thoughts from the previous weekend, when Chelsea managed a last-gasp equalizer against Manchester United to keep the unbeaten start going. Sometimes, it’s not about quality, sometimes it’s about a bit of luck and a lot of spirit.
“Even though we were 2-1 down, we kept trying to score the equaliser and we did that in the end so I think the spirit was amazing. This was a big game against a big club, and it is always like this. We have to realise we had amazing spirit to try and score the second goal and we did that in the end.”
“We are happy we have gone this many games without losing, but we are keeping on working hard to try and improve our team because it is just the beginning.”
-David Luiz; source: Chelsea FC
Then again, you make your own luck, as they say, including when it comes to your career path. David Luiz may be nearing his — and his Chelsea future is uncertain beyond this season and the remaining few months on his contract — but he’s no less motivated to accomplish something special.
“When you play for big clubs and big clubs have the opportunity to play in many many competitions. I think it is amazing. I think it is better to have games than training. I think then you have the possibilities to win titles. I am a lucky guy because I am always playing in big clubs and at big clubs you always try to win titles. I love that.”
-David Luiz; source: Goal
Spirit, quality, and a bit of luck — with those three key ingredients, Chelsea should indeed be able to make a run at a few titles this season.
Opposition clear cut chances this season, or How Chelsea Used Magic To Stay Unbeaten— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) October 21, 2018
Man City: 5 allowed, 3 conceded
Liverpool: 7 allowed, 1 conceded
Chelsea: 17 allowed, 2 conceded
According to Understat’s xG formula, Chelsea are outperforming xG-against by about 3.5 goals — we’ve conceded 7 when xG says we should’ve conceded 10.47 — which is about the same as Liverpool and only trails Brighton who are outperforming the metric by five goals (13 conceded on an xGA of 18.08). All of that lines up with Sarri’s continued concerns about the team’s play in the defensive phase. But on Sunday, Chelsea showed notable improvement in that regard, and that should bode well for the rest of the season ahead.