We all have those weeks where things aren’t going our way. The last week was cocktail of mishaps for me. The American presidential election, a tough week at the office and few other problems lead me wanting to escape reality. How did I do this? I decided to do what I did as a child and watch Batman. No, I did not watch the cartoon (which is still great by the way) but, instead I watched the Christopher Nolan trilogy of Batman movies. In hindsight these movies weren’t great but, there was one line the trilogy that made me think of certain Premier League footballer.
“He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.”
The footballer I began to think of is a player who like Batman, is constantly judged by his flaws not his strengths, misunderstood by the media and was hunted out of his home before he rose again to save Chelsea. The player I am speaking about is David Luiz.
David Luiz was bought from Benfica to Chelsea for 25 million euro in 2011, in his first spell at Chelsea he won the Champions League, the Europa league and the FA Cup on what was the end of an era for Chelsea. Players like Cech, Lampard and Drogba were in there final seasons at Chelsea and owner Roman Abramovich felt his club needed to start over again. In June 2014, Jose Mourinho felt he couldn’t trust Luiz anymore and sold him to Paris St Germain for 50 million euros. Many experts at the time felt this fee was ludicrous but, Luiz went on to win nine trophies in two years. So what warranted this price tag?
Well, Luiz has in my opinion the most unique skill set for a central defender I have ever seen. He can score thirty yard free kicks, start attacks with a wide range of passing and in his years at Paris Saint Germain he has learned the art of defending. He can basically do everything. So it comes to my surprise that football supporters and pundits seem to only want to look at his flaws. People want to remember the 7-1 defeat to Germany, but don’t want to remember a magnificent performance in the 2012 Champions league final. People want to point to him for losses Chelsea had in his first spell, but not remember how he knocked Chelsea out of the Champions League just last season.
In defense of Luiz he has been nothing short of exceptional this season. He has really developed the defensive side of his game and what was once Jose Mourinho’s garbage, David Luiz is now Antonio Conte’s little pot of gold. He is tailor made for Conte’s 3-4-3 formation where he is trusted to be the heart of the three centre-backs and is given license to start attacks from the back. He has become the defensive leader of this Chelsea side who haven’t conceded a goal in five premier league games.
As fans, we watch a lot of football through Sky, BT Sport and the BBC. In my opinion what gets lost in today’s TV coverage of football is football is meant to be enjoyed not scrutinized. Like many others I enjoy Jamie Carragher, Gary Neville and Graeme Souness’s punditry. They are able to watch a game differently to how supporters would watch a game and point out aspects of the game we would never get. I would never be able to appreciate the role Nemanja Matic or Lucas Leiva have in a team. On the flip side I feel pundits are not able to appreciate “flair players” like Luiz. Maybe because Neville, Carragher and Souness were “no nonsense” players and the utter thought of David Luiz trying to beat three players in his own eighteen yard box gives them mini heart attacks.
Supporters should love David Luiz. For better or worse his style of football is exciting. We don’t know what he is going to do, the opposition don’t know what he is going to do and sometimes he doesn’t even know what he is going to do. But, that’s okay. We have got to a stage where pundits will throw plaudits at players like Michael Carrick, N’Golo Kante and Sergio Busquets. Yes they are all great players but, do they ever make you say “Wow I cant wait to see Carrick play today” or “that lad Kante is gonna do something amazing!”. Of course not. The Football media has made us believe we really want “a team of Gary Breen’s” and not David “Sideshow Bob”Luiz.
Being an avid football fan in 2016 is becoming an expensive hobby. Fans are having to pay Sky Sports, BT Sports and Eir Sport about a hundred euro/pound a month just to watch games in the comfort of their own homes. Premier League ticket prices are already incredibly expensive as well. So why do we spend all this money just to watch West Brom plant 11 men in there penalty box to try and grind out a 0-0 draw at home to Boro? Why do we spend all this money to watch United play a “cheap mans”Champions League game on a Thursday night against a team we never heard of? Are we able to get back the hours spent watching “Red Monday”??
Football media is entering a dark period of being “too real”. Pundits want to applaud teams for getting 0-0 draws, give Man of the Match awards to defensive midfielders on a weekly basis and ridicule players like Aguero for “not working hard enough” But, in David Luiz we have a hero. A player who doesn’t care what Souness, Carragher or Neville think, a player who will try the spectacular and will give you reason to justify spending all this money on football and not on your girlfriends anniversary present. David Luiz is our Dark Knight. But, sadly in the eyes of many “He’s the hero football deserves, but not the one it needs right now.”
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