While sports — football, in particular; Chelsea, specifically — are no longer happening, we can take time to remember that they indeed have happened. And also that some of what happened was extremely funny.
Because the normal pace of match/result/analysis/interview/injury update/next match is so furious, we didn’t adequately dissect just how funny some of these moments were. So in this series I will make up for this error, because I have the time, and my god do we all need to laugh.
The summer of 2019 was extremely annoying. Chelsea, perennial spenders with massive gaps in the squad were forced to sit on the sidelines and watch our rivals — supposedly — getting stronger. Manchester City brought in Rodri and Joao Cancelo, Arsenal secured the services of Nicolas Pépé, Manchester United addressed their porous defense by signing Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, even Daniel Levy unzipped enough teeth on his leather accessory pouch to lure Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon.
Meanwhile, we lost one of the club’s best ever players, Eden Hazard, to Real Madrid, and, though much less damaging, club captain and center-back Gary Cahill exited for Crystal Palace. However, the club managed to secure the January signing of Christian Pulisic and turn Mateo Kovačić’s loan into a permanent deal thanks to a loophole in FIFA’s own rules, the theme of the summer now was to hold the line and hope for the best.
With a new manager coming in, it would be up to the veterans to steady the ship, not let performances drop, and indoctrinate through fire as many academy kids as could withstand the intensity of The Best League In The World™ without wilting to ash. To that effect, Chelsea broke with club policy to secure the signature of David Luiz on a two-year contract extension.
The finish line was within sight, it was deadline day, and barring the unpredicta-…wait what? What? LOL WUT.
From nowhere, David Luiz demanded a transfer. To Arsenal. Of all places. Arsenal. The ink was barely dry.
Sure, it’s a London club and he wouldn’t have to move himself or his whole family over one tense conversation, but it’s Arsenal. They already had the (un)fortunate curse of defenders growing clown shoes every time they slip on a match shirt. Now they, in their infinite Sokratis- and Shkodran Mustafi-buying wisdom, were adding the man with the hair to round out the look.
What. A. Time. To. Be. Alive.
I’ve always liked and defended David Luiz a lot, even then. I appreciate the non-conformers and risk-takers, perhaps overly so since I am fairly risk averse myself. I enjoyed smiling at the fruits of his unpredictable nature more than cursing at his errors. But even I had to laugh at Arsenal’s assessment of David Luiz as some sort of seasoned, stalwart solution to help the wacky flailing inflatable tube men who were their center backs.
Then, in one of God’s most hackish writings of reality, trademark calamity in Arsenal’s back line led to David Luiz marking his return to Stamford Bridge with a red card for pulling down Tammy Abraham in the box.
Thank you, David. For everything.