The Chalkboard: Chelsea must place their faith in Luiz against Manchester City

Fixture In Focus banner Richard Lee

Chelsea take on reigning Premier League champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts will be considered favourites heading into the clash, but the Blues did beat Pep Guardiola’s side when they met at Stamford Bridge earlier in the season, so Chelsea will know that they have what it takes to triumph on Sunday.

However, in order to take all three points back to west London, Maurizio Sarri must get his tactical approach to this fixture spot on.

On the chalkboard

In the likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, and January arrival Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea have attacking players with the capacity to hurt City. However, in Brazilian centre-back David Luiz they also have something of a secret weapon.

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The defender’s long-range passing ability from deep is remarkable, and he has the vision to pick out the runs of his attackers with accurate lofted balls over the top of the opposition defence. Therefore, Chelsea’s forwards must invest their faith in Luiz’s ability and repeatedly make the kind of runs in behind that he can pick out.

Working with Luiz

In order for Luiz to be at his most effective though, he must also be protected.

When Luiz is on the ball, City will press and pressurise him instantly. It is vital that the Chelsea man’s teammates are sharp in their own movements to ensure that the 31-year-old always has an option available to him.

What’s more, Sarri must also impress upon the 56-cap Brazil international the importance of not taking any unnecessary risks. Whilst Luiz has the capacity to unlock City, he is also capable of making poor errors. If he is to become central to Chelsea’s gameplan, then the Blues must be diligent in covering for Luiz when he strides forward to aid the attack.