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Him again! We’re hooked on Luiz

OPINION: Arsenal defender may be great fun – but it’s still the same player, the same problem and the same outcome

04 February, 2021 — By Richard Osley

David Luiz (right)

YOU might never go on Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks ride at Chessington again, if you watch Rollercoaster, a taut thriller going back to 1977 in which an extortionist wants money in return for not putting bombs on an amusement park’s corkscrews and loop-de-loops.

And yet the most terrifying part of that disaster flick is not the moment that a happy day out on the big dipper is ruined by a heartless villain’s detonator, but the subplot of George Segal – playing the detective – having aversion therapy in an attempt to kick his smoking habit. Smokers look away as he is hooked up to an electric shock machine and asked to chain-puff his way through dozens of packets.

And with each inhale of Nick O’Teen’s dirty, weedy woodbines, he is zapped with a bolt of pain.

It’s worse than Malcolm McDowell having his eyes wedged open in A Clockwork Orange for an even darker form of therapy, because this kind of thing really did happen. People signed up and paid for electric shots in a bid to end their addiction.

Decades later there are still people out there who think it could work – THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT AND DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME – but after Arsenal’s chaotic defeat at Wolves on Tuesday, you could be forgiven for thinking about what sort of measures would stop Mikel Arteta coming to the conclusion that David Luiz remains the answer to his team’s fragilities. In one-and-a-half seasons, three red cards and the concession of six penalties are glaring statistics which override any feelings of injustice over how much contact was made in the penalty area at Wolves this week.

Instead, the emotion should be: him again.

Somehow Luiz – part of the Chelsea seconds who have been such a resounding success… at sleepwalking to their retirements at Arsenal – was able to escape the transfer window clearout just now.

Conversely, he was rewarded with more first-team starts and more details of how great he is with the young lads.

This, btw, is usually code for being the wacky/irritating one who forever pranks around and makes new recruits feel part of the set-up by waking them up on long coach rides with wild animal noises, or hitching a surprise wedgie after corner practice with the explanation: “Chill out, it was just a joke.”

Luiz might be great fun, but it’s still “him again” – the same player, the same problem, the same outcome – and how many more times are we going to be saying the same thing in the future? I’m not saying that Arteta needs to be put in a glass room and asked to write David Luiz’s name into a teamsheet on repeat for an hour, while all the while being pulsed with electric shocks each time. But we’re running out of ideas here…

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