The last time David Luiz scored a Premier League goal, Chelsea were playing their first game after winning the title and Antonio Conte was the manager.
What followed that august August start for Chelsea was a home loss to Burnley, steadily growing discord and a season of disappointment, while for David himself, a series of injuries, missed games and a rumored falling out with the manager.
Given his tense relationship with Conte, it was a bit ironic to hear him using Conte-language to explain how Chelsea were able to overcome rampant Manchester City.
“I think it was a great game. Also, we have to be honest, we were playing against the best team, I think, in Europe or in the world at the moment. They have been together more than three years, they play really, really well, they have great players ... so we were set to suffer.
“We had a lot of humility [to suffer], and then we tried to take our chance to score. So I think we did well, our plan, and I think it was a great game.”
“We did a different plan to try to win the match, we did that, so it worked well.
Suffering. And humility. A slight change in approach. An almost unfathomably low (for Sarri) 40 per cent possession. But clear advantage in the only measure that matters, the scoreboard.
David Luiz played a key part in both Chelsea goals, finishing the second with a looping header from a Hazard corner and starting the move for the opener that changed the flow of the game just before half-time. He also hardly put a foot wrong in defense, which is less expected.
Of course he wasn’t interested in personal plaudits, even as he was named BT Sport’s Man of the Match.
“I think all the team did great. I think we try to improve, we had some bad results, and like I said, humility was the key today and was good. I try to give some pass, sometimes here we can do well, sometimes not, but I think all the team did great.”
“We keep fighting, like I said, with humility, feet on the ground, and try to improve every day.”
-David Luiz; source: BT Sport
It had been a bumpy week for David Luiz, criticized for his recent play, and a bumpy week for Chelsea, following up the “disaster” at Spurs with a “mystifying” collapse at Wolves not ten days later. So of course what followed against the best team in all the lands was an impeccable performance, both individually and as a team!
The key now, as Sarri said after the match as well, is to build on this effort, with just as much humility but maybe without as much suffering, beginning with Brighton next Sunday (Thursday’s meaningless Europa League game at Vidi FC amounts to little more than a training exercise).