In this new era of football with contradicting football ideologies, it’s hard to imagine any truly successful team without a good defence. In fact, many football analysts and managers would tell you bluntly that no team wins silverware without a reliable defence. The art of defending has often criticised in both pragmatic and artistic tactical set-up as variations in the ideal defender that makes both ideas click. Pragmatism favours brawns while artistic prefers brain that ignites attacking play. Pragmatism beliefs the job of a defender is to subdue the opposition attack, while the artistic beliefs a defender’s job is to initiate attacking play from the back through excellent passing skills. Both makes the world of defending complex, yet simple in the eyes of the casual observer.
At Chelsea, the transformation of David Luiz and the rise of Andreas Christensen gives Chelsea fans a near perfect scenario. Luiz has been first choice in Conte’s sweeper role and Christensen as his understudy. Both players have been superb for Chelsea in recent games so far this season, but the decision as to who fits the team will be analysed with the points below:
The preference of today’s managers to have width in their team setup in form of speedy wingers or wingbacks makes the job of a defender a herculean task. The need for positional sense will help counter attacking moves. In this regard, Luiz and Christensen have been excellent. Though Luiz’s maverick moments could mean him being prone to the odd error, while his understudy tends to more assertive and consistent. For me, Christensen edges him in this one.
BALL PLAYING SKILLS/ATTACKING PLAY
The revised role of a defender means we have the sweeper role and the quarterback. The defender is expected to initiate attacking moved from the back. The likes of Gerard Pique and Rio Ferdinand are perfect examples. At Chelsea, without a doubt, Luiz is the best ball playing defender. His ability to move the ball onto the midfielders and attacking players has been excellent. His eye for goal is also another lethal weapon in his arsenal. In my view, Luiz trumps Christensen.
CHELSEA’S PRESENT VS CHELSEA’S FUTURE
David Luiz is 30 and enjoying his prime with him having enjoyed a successful career so far. Christensen on the other hand is 21 and is at the beginning of his career and still has more years to play. Luiz experience is Christensen’s version of youthful strength. So, both players have a lot to offer Chelsea, but based on transfer value, I’ll prefer the new wine to the old one.
Share your thoughts on your preferred choice between both players. Let’s play… Cheers!