After Sunday’s Club World Cup final, the post-mortem over what went wrong begun on twitter. Many people faulted Benitez’ starting line-up which had 4 changes from the side that won so impressively in the semi-final on Thursday. Many talked about Torres’ missed chances, especially the one in the dying minutes which would have taken it to extra-time. Also pointed out was the fact that Lampard looked like a fish out of water in the deep lying midfield role, giving the ball away at times and being put under pressure often. That isn’t Lampard’s best position, and even though he performed so well there under Di Matteo last season, it’s clear it doesn’t work.
It’s no real fault of Frank’s, as he’s been put in a position that he’s not familiar with. Under this new Chelsea side there isn’t a role for Lampard, with the pace and skills of Oscar, Mata & Hazard the obvious choices for the 3 positions behind the striker. But I think perhaps maybe Lampard was deployed there to add some leadership for a side still without their leader and inspiration, John Terry.
There’s been a lot of talk about what will happen when JT & Lampard depart Chelsea. These two have been captain and vice-captain at the club for many years, with Drogba the 3rd choice captain departing in the summer. Over the season Chelsea fans were looking for someone to step up in this position and show a bit of passion for the cause, and for the club they play for. For me this season there’s only been one player who’s stuck out as having any sort of leadership potential in this new Chelsea side. And that man of course is David Luiz.
A player who is widely mocked in the media since his arrival, with Gary Neville referring to him as a player on a computer game, but this is a player who has all the potential in the world to take the armband when JT eventually retires in a few years time. After the CWC final we saw Luiz in tears after the loss, showing passion and despair in losing that not many of the other players seem to show.
When Chelsea fans look around the side and try to put their finger on a potential leader who’s already in the side, Luiz is the only name who comes to mind. Yes, he does have his issues when it comes to defending, but these are traits that can be ironed out of Luiz’s play. The fact is that Luiz is too good a footballer to play at centre-back, and many football fans can see this. You can definitely tell that this is a Brazilian player, with his free-kick ability, his shooting, range of passing and his ability to nick the ball from players (almost every time!).
We saw Luiz finally play in the position in front of the back 4, which gave him more freedom to express himself, without the consequences of being the last man if he gave the ball away. He did seem to thrive in that position, albeit against a very poor opposition in Monterrey. But it’s clear that this is a position that Luiz can potentially play in the future, especially with Leeds United in the League Cup to come and Chelsea short of midfielders with Romeu injured and Ramires & Mikel suspended.
So yes Luiz does have his faults, but he also has a lot of positives that shine through. When Chelsea are a goal down at home and piling the pressure onto the opposition, Luiz tends to come up with one of those mazy runs forward that he’s recognised for, and would sometimes win the team corners. From this you’ll see him pump his arms up and down to the fans to get them going, and this gets a response. Chelsea fans respond to passion.
So while it can’t be argued that Luiz needs to cut out some of these mistakes he’s prone for, there’s no doubt that he’s a future Chelsea captain. With an influx of Brazilian players in the squad in the form of Ramires, Oscar, Piazon and with Wallace to come in next season, it would make sense to give the armband to a man who can communicate with players who will no doubt play a big part in Chelsea’s future.
He already acts as a mentor on and off the pitch for the young players, with Oscar moving in straight away with Luiz to help him adapt to the London lifestyle straight away. Whilst communication may be a problem when it comes to talking to the British media, Luiz has been working hard on his English. From only being able to mutter a few words when he came to the club, he’s made strides and although it’s not perfect, he’s still getting there.
So whilst Chelsea fans will hope that JT is back soon and remains Chelsea captain for a number of years, it’s not hard to see where his replacement may be. It’s known that Luiz plays better when playing next to JT, and it’s clear that Luiz is learning from the great Chelsea captain not only when it comes to defending, but also when it comes to leadership. No one at the club shows more love for the fans and the team than John Terry, but there will be a time when he’ll no longer be around to lead us through tough times. His replacement may well be the curly headed geezer that is David Luiz.