Arsenal’s defense will welcome David Luiz back to the mix against Sheffield United, but his return shouldn’t mean a thing to the defensive set-up.
Arsenal‘s defense has been surprisingly solid since the restart. I say surprisingly because to say they’ve been “solid” when they lost two matches while forfeiting five goals doesn’t sound solid at all. But bearing in mind that David Luiz is personally responsible for two of those goals, Bernd Leno and Pablo Mari are out for the year, and Calum Chambers is still MIA.
With just Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding holding down the fort in lieu of lacking every single other option, we have to be pretty proud of how they’ve done. Especially after having held a clean sheet against a pretty optimistic Southampton.
That said, David Luiz has returned from his suspension. You know, the one that completely derailed our efforts against Manchester City. And since he is the most senior member of this defense, Mikel Arteta may be tempted to to get his leader back into the side.
Not the case. And thankfully, I don’t think Mikel Arteta will think it’s the case either. I keep going back to the fact that on the restart, with David Luiz there to be picked, Arteta instead opted for Pablo Mari and Shkodran Mustafi.
That’s pretty telling. Especially after Luiz had played such an important role in Arteta’s early reign. It was honestly surprising to see him sat on the bench. Maybe the individual collapse in the friendly was enough to upset Arteta’s faith in him. As well it should have, given what happened against City.
So with Luiz returning to Arsenal before Sheffield, I am confident in my assertion that he will not be called on. At all. Maybe some part of Arteta wants to stick with a back three, and that incorporating Luiz would be better than the alternative, but again, I just don’t see that being the case. There are too many signs that point to the opposite.
Besides, don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? While there are certain reservations that this defense is not built to last, I think those reservations extend to David Luiz too. Moreso than they do to Mustafi or Holding, neither of whom have been as mistake-prone, and both of whom are younger.
Don’t fear. If Luiz plays, it’s because Arteta has sensed a change. Say what you will about everything else, but Arteta has been pretty spot on with his decision-making on David Luiz.