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Luiz playing a leading role

The distinctive David Luiz has seamlessly moved into the position of team talisman for Chelsea this season.

Last Updated: 13/05/13 at 12:48 Post Comment

David Luiz: Set to have a key impact in Amsterdam

David Luiz: Set to have a key impact in Amsterdam

As the beginning of the end at Chelsea emerges for captain John Terry and Frank Lampard, David Luiz has seamlessly moved into the position of team talisman.

This season, under Rafael Benitez, Terry and Lampard have fleetingly demonstrated their waning powers, but they have been used sparingly in the most important matches.

Luiz has blossomed. The defender or midfielder with the Sideshow Bob hairstyle has emerged as a captain of Brazil, a potential Chelsea skipper and has led by example, particularly in the Europa League, where his clinical passing and spectacular finishing has contributed to progress to the final against his former team, Benfica.

Luiz moved to Stamford Bridge in a big-money move, with Nemanja Matic going the other way.

Matic has flourished since moving to Lisbon and may be regarded as one that got away, but Chelsea are more than satisfied with their part of the deal in Luiz.

There may be a few rough edges - the odd stray elbow or over-enthusiastic challenge - but Luiz is emerging as a key component of Chelsea's future.

It is clear what Benitez thinks.

"David Luiz is one of the best players in the Premier League, by miles - miles away from a lot of players," Benitez said.

"He's one of the best. Without doubt."

The 26-year-old's first goal of the Europa League campaign earned a last-gasp semi-final first-leg victory at Basle in Switzerland.

In the second leg at Stamford Bridge, his exquisite curling strike sealed a comprehensive victory and progress to the Amsterdam showpiece where Chelsea will seek to become the fourth team to claim a clean sweep of triumphs in UEFA competitions.

Unlike with Terry and Lampard, it is clear Luiz will be involved.

Whether in central defence, where he will be expected to marshal Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo in an all-South American tussle, or in defensive midfield, his role will be integral.

If Benitez does select Luiz in midfield, with two of Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic in defence, the Brazilian will still be expected to track back to help.

Yet he can also act as a quarterback to launch attacks, with Fernando Torres often the target, and sit deep enough to allow his midfield colleague - be it Lampard or AN Other - to surge forward.

If in defence, he will have to curb his instinct to step into midfield and thread balls forward to assume his primary responsibility.

Whatever happens, Luiz's performance will have a key impact on the outcome of the final at the Amsterdam ArenA.


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