David Luiz put in a defensive masterclass against Manchester City, but while Arsenal fans should celebrate, they shouldn’t necessarily be surprised.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was not thrilled about Arsenal signing David Luiz. I believe the question I asked is why would we want a second clown when we already had one. Maybe I regret that question at this point. Maybe I don’t.
I felt especially vindicated (which didn’t feel good, mind you) when David Luiz was making a new mistake every single match in the early going for his new side. It was so bad that even Unai Emery had to abandon the Brazilian.
We saw the ugliness of Luiz back in full swing in recent matches. His mistake-ridden performances left so many fans wondering why he was being chosen at all and when he got the new contract, even more questions were asked.
Against Manchester City, though, he was a standout performer. One of our best. His defensive chops (feels weird saying that in regards to Luiz…) were incredible, he showcased tremendous strength and solidity and he felt like a genuine centerback solution.
Fans celebrated, Mikel Arteta praised him, everyone was happy. Some were surprised.
I don’t think it’s fair to Luiz to be surprised, though. While he did start the season pretty terribly and play the first few matches after the pause just as terribly, sandwiched in between there were about ten or so matches where Luiz was truly excellent alongside Shkodran Mustafi in a back four.
Remember that? When Arsenal’s defense was a phoenix from the ashes under Mikel Arteta? When we were surrendering the fewest goals in the calendar year among all Premier League clubs? Between the turn of the new year and the pause, Arsenal surrendered just six goals in eight matches, which was tied with Sheffield United for best in the league.
That was David Luiz.
And it was Shkodran Mustafi. I can’t help but feel that each deserves a bit more credit for who their partner was at the time, but the truth is, they were both nothing short of excellent. How soon we forget.
I don’t fault anyone for being surprised that Luiz is a great defender (at times). But honestly, we shouldn’t be. He’s performed like this before and he’s done so consistently. This isn’t a first and given the new contract, it’s safe to say it won’t be the last.