The Arsenal defender has come to haunt Chelsea before because the manager who sold him within the summer knows only too well
David Luiz angry. it’s rarely an honest idea, as Chelsea have discovered to their cost, and Frank Lampard looked as if he could see the worth in treading carefully as he prepared for Sunday’s derby at Arsenal, when he will come up against his one-time teammate and therefore the player he sold in August.
David Luiz has previous for returning to haunt Chelsea. When the club sold him for the primary time in 2014 to Paris Saint-Germain, he marked his return to Stamford Bridge the subsequent season with a late equalizer within the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
The central defender’s bullet header forced overtime, from where PSG would progress, and it had been an identical story at an equivalent stage of the competition in 2015-16.
David Luiz played in both legs and once more PSG went through, albeit with a touch more comfort. Chelsea would re-sign him in August 2016 – perhaps to prevent him from hurting them.
As he prepared for this game, Lampard initially refused to mention anything about the choice to sell David Luiz to Arsenal. “I’m not going to answer that within the buildup to the present game,” the Chelsea manager said.
He would later elaborate but what was clear was the desire to avoid antagonizing David Luiz; to stay covert a subplot that would become a key a part of the occasion. David Luiz could be erratic but he remains capable of pulling out a high-level performance.
“What I don’t want to do is appear as if it’s a private question going into a game against a player I respect and played with,” Lampard said.
It is delicate because the bottom line is that Lampard came to feel that David Luiz wouldn’t befit the dynamic he wanted to make in his Chelsea squad.
Lampard was resolved to play a high defensive position and to offer opportunities to the 22-year-old Fikayo Tomori. Would be keeping David Luiz have helped either of these aims?
The 32-year-old may be a great distance from being the shy and retiring type, as Lampard knows from playing with him, and he fell out spectacularly with a previous Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte, in 2017-18. within the end, a parting of the ways made sense to Lampard and David Luiz, with the latter also motivated by the challenge at Arsenal.
The pair aren’t close friends yet there’s professional respect, which comes from having lived intense experiences together, most notably Chelsea’s Champions League final triumph against Bayern Munich in 2012 – a game that David Luiz had been an injury doubt.
“David played with half a hamstring within the final – I do know that,” Lampard said. “He got himself fit when he was struggling with the injury. I will be able to always respect that. And he moves on.”
Lampard talked at the time of David Luiz’s transfer about having had honest conversations” with him and, to the manager, it had been “just a choice that was made”.
It had been not intended to be a flexing of his muscles or an effort to form an early mark at the club.
“I wouldn’t say I thrive on having the last word responsibility because the manager,” Lampard said. “It’s work. I’m not a control or power freak but, if a choice must be made for the advantage of where we are at, that’s my job.”
Lampard has made them before and he will make them again. The one to concentrate to offers in January for the out-of-favor Olivier Giroud appears to be close. “I suppose when January comes we will probably officially start talking about it more,” he said.
Sunday’s derby pits Lampard against a manager who is even more inexperienced than him in terms of Premier League games. Mikel Arteta, who previously served as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, took charge of Arsenal for the primary time within the draw at Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
“He has worked under one among the best, if not the best, so I don’t buy the entire ‘Inexperienced One’,” Lampard said.
“Who’s to say a manger is best or worse if they’re in their first or 50th year of management? Arteta would have seen the daily challenges at City but he would have observed them more. Now it’s his address make those decisions himself.”
As with David Luiz, Lampard wishes Arteta well – just not on Sunday, when Chelsea will hope to recover from their shock home defeat by Southampton on Boxing Day.
“Arteta was a really good player, very intelligent, very technical,” Lampard said. “He wasn’t a fist-pumping quiet leader but he was a pacesetter and it’s like he might be compatible with management. I do wish him well because I understand the strains and therefore the pressures of it.
“I certainly found that it helps to be an ex-player of the club [as Arteta is at Arsenal]; knowing some faces behind the scenes, the values, and standards. It can help within the early stages but then it probably levels out and your work is your work. The honeymoon doesn’t continue forever and it shouldn’t do. I’m sure the fans will have a sense for Arteta and need him to do well.”