The Andy Gray Column: David Luiz not a liability


Andy Gray discusses Chelsea’s defensive issues exclusively to South West Londoner.


There has been a lot said of David Luiz is recent weeks, but I don’t think he is a liability by any means.

He is a young man who plays the game a certain way and in many ways he is a little bit like Ricardo Carvalho. I remember watching Carvalho for years and at times he would take the ball and go on a bit of a run, play a one-two and the next thing you know he would be at the edge of the other team’s box.

But the one thing Carvalho has over Luiz is that Carvalho could defend. He was a great tackler, had great pace and complemented John Terry wonderfully well. And part of the problem is that they haven’t replaced Carvalho since he left.

But I think the problem is the right-back. Branislav Ivanovic does well but is he the answer? I don’t know.

I think he is OK but is he the right-back you want moving forward at the very highest level? I am not sure he is.

In fact, that right side of the defence has been a bit iffy for some time with Paulo Ferreira and Jose Bosingwa playing alongside Ivanovic, Alex and Luiz, with the left side being Terry and Ashley Cole and that being sorted.

But if Luiz continues to learn the league and concentrates on defending rather than being a footballer, because we all know he is a good footballer, then I think he will be just fine.

I would like to see him concentrate on defending and work out the art of defending. You have eight other players outfield with you, let them play football and you just defend.

He looks like he is learning but we will have to see what happens with Luiz.

Whether he will be the answer I don’t know, but we will wait and see what Villas-Boas does.

AVB is another young man who is learning and never managed at this sort of level and in a league where the intensity and pressure surrounds a manager on a daily basis.

And I think it has shown and he did let off some steam to the written press and TV and I think that he was probably a little unwise to do that and that it was a measure of his inexperience at this level.

But he will learn and he will learn quickly because I think he is an intelligent man and he knows his football.

But he doesn’t know the league, he doesn’t know the pressures he will be under. He has never sampled that. He had a couple of years in Portugal and over here every day you pick up any paper there are ten pages at the back surrounding this sport that we all love.

But he will come to terms with that and I think he will be given time.

I was delighted for him that they got through the Champions League because I do think he has been hammered unfairly.

Give the man a chance. He has inherited a squad that needs to evolve. I don’ think there is revolution needed, I think there is evolution needed.

I think he needs to tweak it. Losing Anelka if he goes, Alex, Bosingwa, Ferreira if they all go, Drogba if he goes, using Frank Lampard less now and introducing young players, I think that is all that Chelsea is about now.

And I think for the next 18 months it will be like that and we will see more players come into Chelsea of an age that would reduce the average age of the team and they will be OK.

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