Garth Crooks has hailed “immense” David Luiz for making a difference to Chelsea‘s back-three formation since he returned to the club.
The 29-year-old returned to the Blues in the summer following two seasons at Paris Saint-Germain, and has made eight defensive actions on average in as many appearances under manager Antonio Conte.
Conte’s Chelsea are now top of the Premier League by one point having won six consecutive games without conceding since switching to a 3-4-3 formation in the wake of September’s defeat to Arsenal.
Former Tottenham Hotspur forward Crooks says Luiz has made an impact since he rejoined the side for a fee upwards of £35 million, which the Brazil international’s performance in their 1-0 win over Middlesbrough highlighted.
“If you want to know the individual who has made the difference in this new Chelsea back five, you need look no further than David Luiz,” Crooks wrote for BBC in his Team of the Week column.
“Against Middlesbrough, he never missed a header, a tackle, or an interception. In fact, he was the architect of the move of the match that resulted in Pedro’s strike crashing against the underside of the bar.
“Luiz has been immense since his return to Stamford Bridge. The victory over the Boro was as emphatic as it was stylish and takes them to the top of the Premier League table for the first time since May 2015.
“Chelsea are the best team in the league at the moment, with steel and flair in equal proportions. The late, great Howard Kendall once said that winning trophies was like sipping champagne; once you’ve had a taste, you keep going back for more.
“Antonio Conte has enjoyed a sip or two of success over the years. By the look of his new-look Chelsea team’s recent performances, both he and they are developing a taste for more in the months ahead.”
Luiz made eight clearances, a block and an interception against Boro, also completing 78% of his passes.
Chelsea are now top of the table, one point clear of Liverpool, following six consecutive victories with a clean sheet since Conte switched to a three-man defense system.
The Blues host an unbeaten Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, as they aim to continue their winning run and stay top of the Premier League.