In the wake of Chelsea’s impressive 1-0 victory over title-rivals Manchester United on Sunday, much of the post-match hype centred around Antonio Conte’s decision to omit David Luiz from the matchday squad at Stamford Bridge.
The charismatic Brazilian was replaced in the heart of Chelsea’s defence by young Dane Andreas Christensen, who excelled in the high-pressure surroundings at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea clawed their way back into Premier League contention.
Luiz made his presence felt on Sunday, as he sat behind the Chelsea bench, in casual clothing – which added to the intrigue around Antonio Conte’s decision to ditch the centre-half, who was an integral part of the Blues’ title success last term.
Conte insists change was ‘tactical’
In his post-match press conference, Conte explained his decision as tactical, although media reports have subsequently surfaced suggesting that the Brazilian questioned Conte’s training methods, which ignited a heated debate between the pair.
Despite his omission, Luiz has returned to training on Wednesday, along with his fellow Chelsea teammates not selected for their respective international sides during the break from domestic action.
Luiz has once again been overlooked for national team selection by Tite and his prospects of featuring in next year’s World Cup in Russia look to be hanging by a thread – both domestically and internationally.
The 30-year-old, who has won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Europa League in his two spells at Stamford Bridge, is a firm fans’ favourite on the terraces so shouldn’t have too many issues playing his way back into the hearts of the Chelsea faithful.
Playing his way back into the heart and mind of Antonio Conte however, could be a big ask, as the Italian has shown already with Diego Costa that he will not be undermined whilst in charge of Chelsea.
Header image: David Luiz by Football.ua [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons