Ken Early: English football wrong to treat David Luiz as a joke

Individual scapegoating has done much to keep English football stupid over the years

David Luiz: his big hair makes him different, which is immediately provocative. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

David Luiz: his big hair makes him different, which is immediately provocative. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Two weeks ago David Luiz had a bad game against Tottenham, and pretty soon the whole world was laughing at him. A video circulated on social media claiming to show that Luiz had been directly responsible for 64 per cent of the league goals Chelsea had conceded so far this season. That arresting statistic was picked up by the newspapers and recirculated and repeated until you might have thought that only a madman could have David Luiz in his team. Why was Maurizio Sarri still picking him – had some horrible creature laid eggs in his brain?

Or maybe Sarri just understands football. On closer inspection, the clip showed a few goals that certainly were Luiz’s fault. There was Anthony Martial’s second goal for Manchester United in their 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, when Luiz tried to tackle Juan Mata and missed both ball and man. There was Andros Townsend’s goal in Crystal Palace’s 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge, when Luiz was attracted to the ball and forgot about the runner. There was Harry Kane’s long shot for Spurs in their win over Chelsea at Wembley, when Luiz seemed to flinch out of the way of the ball. These were all bad moments for Luiz. Every defender has his blooper reel.

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