LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: David Luiz of Arsenal gesticulates during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on January 01, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Is David Luiz an excellent football player? Yes. Can David Luiz be a wayward football player? Yes. Does David Luiz perform best in particular systems? Almost certainly.
Luiz’s best performances have often come when operating in a back three – see stints at Benfica, Chelsea and PSG. This is due to the proactive way he plays the game. Sometimes that proactive nature can look rash. And sometimes that proactive/rash nature can be exposed in a back four. A back three, with cover either side of the Brazilian, accentuates his strengths and papers over his weaknesses.
That is why the decision by Arsenal to sign the Chelsea centre-half and then play him in a back four, with limited-to-no cover ahead of him made limited-to-no sense.
Now that the reported financial details of the deal are in the public domain, it makes absolutely no sense at all. Per the Athletic Luiz’s one season at Arsenal will cost the club £24 million. The breakdown is as such: £8 million to Chelsea, £6 million to intermediaries and then there is the £10 million-a-year in wages.
Now, the Warm-Up was never great at maths but is going to go out on a limb here and say that Virgil van Dijk won’t cost Liverpool £24 million a year and he is probably the best defender in the world. Sometimes a deal makes sense on a sporting level but not on a financial level and vice versa. This deal increasingly looks like it made no sense whatsoever.
Real Madrid to sacrifice superstar to land Mbappe - Euro Papers
What was Gian Piero Gasperini thinking?
Gian Piero Gasperini said on Sunday that he thinks he had coronavirus on the day of his Atalanta side’s last-16 second leg encounter against Valencia on March 10 - a fixture they won 4-3 to go through 8-4 on aggregate.
"I was scared. The day before the game I was sick, the afternoon of the game worse. The two nights after I slept little," Gasperini told Gazzetta dello Sport.
If you look at the pictures, I did not look good on the bench. That was March 10. The two nights afterwards, I did not sleep well. I didn’t have a fever, but I felt like I did.
He would also add that he lost his sense of taste and smell.
"The day after, the team received food and 2008 Dom Perignon from a Michelin-star chef who is a fan of Atalanta. I tasted it and said: 'This is water…' The food tasted like bread. I had completely lost my sense of taste."
Gian Piero Gasperini
Image credit: Getty Images
Gasperini would self-isolate at Atalanta's training ground for three weeks after the trip to Valencia.
An inexplicable admission.
Valencia released a rightly perplexed response.
"Such actions, if this was the case, would have put at risk numerous people during the trip to - and stay in - Valencia," began the statement.
"It should be remembered that this game was held behind closed doors amidst strict safety measures... to prevent the risk of COVID-19 contagion, precisely due to the presence of persons from an area already publicly classified as 'at risk'."
Bundesliga led the way and others are now following. Rightly or wrongly, a festival of football is brewing. There will be a period in June and July whereby TV stations will be wall-to-wall with football. There is so much football that it is being given away for free. The Premier League given away for free. However, ethically, in some countries – yes, England – is it right that football should return? The daily death statistics make for grim reading, so to this observer’s eye it should not. And yet on Sunday night the Championship announced that it planned to return on June 21. Elsewhere, Liga announced its planned fixtures of the first weekend of football.
Football is back. Whether it should be is open to debate but it really is back.
HEROES AND ZEROS
Michael Owen. Always delivers.
The continued demonisation of the football fan. There is chat about neutral stadiums for some fixtures with the implication being that football fans can’t be trusted not to turn up at certain grounds.
Meanwhile the rest of society can seemingly show a complete disregard for the rules without a second glance from those in power.
The 1972 Ajax team were voted the greatest European side in the latest Eurosport Cup, beating the 1999 Manchester United team in the final.
Anyway, here is Johan Cruyff’s brace in the final against Inter:
The fact that United got all the way to the final of the Eurosport Cup meant that the good people of Eurosport were able to give Rob Smyth’s excellent long read article another airing.
The 1999 win was, according to Smyth, a triumph in Sir Alex Ferguson's image.
It would be absurd to suggest that United were not fortunate. Bayern had the better chances – by far the better chances – and Sheringham’s equalising goal could have been sped up and accompanied by the Benny Hill theme. But there’s no point receiving luck if you don’t know how to ride it, and the way United won the game was entirely consistent with the personality and achievements of that particular team. They came from behind to win or draw 17 matches in the Treble season; to prove it wasn’t a fluke, they did it 16 times in 1999-2000.
Re-read the whole article .
Andi Thomas shall be here on Tuesday brining news of RB Leipzig’s capitulation against FC Köln. Maybe. Perhaps.