Go-Go-Gadget HAIR! - Lintao Zhang
Flying through the airwaves, living through the printed word...have you heard the news today? David Luiz played midfield and everybody yet lived to tell all about it! What an absolute sideshow...
Eight days to the Mayan Apocalypse. Eight days. Fernando Torres has five goals in three matches. Eight days. Paulo Ferreira has made two appearances in three matches. Eight days. David Luiz played in midfield. Eight days to the Mayan Apocalypse.
Wait, what was the last bit? Something about David Luiz? I'm not sure if you heard about that, after all it's seemingly just only on every single [fun]-ing football-related website, newspaper, and probably billboard out there. ESPN FC (née Soccernet) even plastered it on their front page. Pat Nevin was bursting at the seams with adoration on Chelsea TV. It's like the second coming of the rapture. And everybody has an opinion.
Let's start with the man of the hour himself, young David Luiz "Sideshow" Moreira Marinho:
I feel [about playing midfield] like any other game. I love to play for Chelsea [...] so I try my best.
[The manager's expectation was] just to help the team. He give me what I need to do on the pitch and I try.
-Source: Chelsea TV
Now there's some insight for ya. Love you though, Mr. Sideshow.
Maybe insight & love is an inverse relationship, so let's throw it over to Mr. Interim Manager:
The main idea for playing David Luiz there was for this game because Monterrey are good between the lines where they like to play little penetrating passes. They have the left winger going inside a lot so we wanted more players in this area.
It was mainly for this game but it is always an option for the future.
That last sentence is already threatening to spoil this new party a bit, doesn't it?
Writing for ESPN FC, here's Gabriele Marcotti:
Without any disrespect to Monterrey, the slower pace of their football offered a good chance for Luiz to ease himself into this new role.
Luiz did well. His size and strength, coupled with his ability to run with the ball, created a mismatch when he came forward. And when he won possession -- unlike Ramires and Mikel, who tend to look short -- he wasn't shy about going vertical, with accurate balls into space.
On the flip side, he did give the ball away more than the guys who usually play there, possibly because he took more risks. And there were times when he was caught out of position which, against Monterrey, wasn't much of an issue but, against tougher opponents who play at a higher pace, it could be.
Right now, it's something worth revisiting and nothing more.
Marcotti's whole article is worth a read as he lays out the sordid history, and any potential implications of this earth-shattering event. His headline (possibly not even written by him) and front page ESPN FC location may have been a tad bit too sensational but the actual content of his writing is even-handed and reasonable.
On the more tactical side of things, here's Michael Cox of ZonalMarking fame (also writing for ESPN FC):
...it's been rare to see regular central defenders used as central midfielders. David Luiz might be the exception.
By all accounts, Luiz performed very well, offering energy in contrast to Mikel's solid positioning. Without the ball, his defensive positioning was good, minimising the space between defence and midfield, and he also broke forward, playing one excellent pass to Eden Hazard and generally distributing the ball positively to prompt quick Chelsea attacks.
Luiz can be a decent back-up midfielder, so Chelsea might not need to purchase another in January, but he's yet to prove himself against quality opposition in that role, and his development at centre-back shouldn't be ignored.
...it was pure, sit-back-and-marvel entertainment.
...the 10-year-old holding the controller in David Luiz's case was one of those super-precocious ones who knows every move in the special skills manual - the triple elastico, the Rabona fake - and who is, as a consequence, mesmerisingly interesting to watch.