Frank Lampard vindicated in his decision to dispense of David Luiz… after the Arsenal centre-back was SENT OFF after 26 minutes in a nightmare return to former club
‘It is something I’m not absolutely looking away from,’ he said when asked about January target Edinson Cavani. ‘Sometimes the young players need a little bit of help.’
What he then saw unfold right in front of him in 26 minutes from Luiz, though, only vindicated his decision to dispense of one of the seasoned campaigners he did have to call on when he was appointed last summer.
David Luiz clumsily fouls Tammy Abraham in the box, conceding a penalty in the first-half
Referee Stuart Atwell gives Luiz his marching orders for preventing a near-certain goal
The warm welcome from Lampard and captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the matchday programme handed out at Stamford Bridge was as good as the night got for the Brazilian.
The 32 year-old’s name was booed along with his every touch by the fired-up home fans, angered by his defection across London.
An early foul was symptomatic of his uneasy start as was the part he played in some unnecessary overplaying at the back from Arsenal that earned him a ticking off from manager Mikel Arteta.
Worse was to come in the 26th minute when Tammy Abraham rounded Bernd Leno and Luiz, trying to make up for an error from his partner in calamities Shkodran Mustafi, dragged him down to earn a red card.
Luiz waited in vain for a reprieve but it was not forthcoming. Off he went. In truth, referee Stuart Attwell did Luiz a favour by putting him out of his misery.
The Arsenal centre back waited on the pitch for a VAR reprieve but it was not forthcoming
The mocking from Chelsea fans continued after Jorginho converted the penalty – ‘David Luiz, he’s one of our own’ they belted out, sarcastically and gleefully.
As nightmare returns to a former club go, you will struggle to see one as bad as this.
As Luiz trudged off, accepting hard luck handshakes from fellow Brazilian Willian and his teammates on his way to the tunnel, there was not a flicker from Lampard, who remained stood in his technical area and appeared to not acknowledge Luiz as he walked past.
They were once teammates but, as his manager, Lampard had to break the bad news to him last summer.
The former Chelsea player trudges off the Stamford Bridge pitch after his dismissal
Luiz walks past former manager, and team-mate, Frank Lampard on his way down the tunnel
Lampard wanted to go a different way, with younger players. Luiz did not hang about to try and fight for his place and pushed through a move to Arsenal.
In truth there was not too much resistance from Chelsea amid concerns from some that Luiz might not be the sort of character to keep around in the background if he is not playing.
On Tuesday, he was and it was not his character in question, more his quality, leaving Lampard with no regrets.
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