BAYER LEVERKUSEN vs CHELSEA
CHELSEA manager Andre Villas-Boas insists error-prone defender David Luiz possesses all the attributes to become a world class centre-half.
Luiz quickly established himself as a Stamford Bridge cult hero following his £21m move from Benfica last January, but his form has dipped since Villas-Boas arrived in the summer.
Luiz’s eccentric performance in Sunday’s defeat against Liverpool led Sky pundit Gary Neville to claim the 24-year-old (right) looked like he was “being controlled by a ten-year-old on a Playstation” but Villas-Boas believes the criticism is harsh.
“Everybody is entitled to have their opinion but my opinion of David is that he is an extremely good player,” he said. “He is quick, anticipates well and has amazing technical qualities. You don’t get central defenders with his technical ability and at his age, he still has a lot of time to evolve. I am sure he will evolve into one of the world’s best central defenders.”
A win against Leverkusen tonight could seal Chelsea’s place in the knockout stage of the Champions League, thereby earning Villas-Boas some respite from domestic matters.
Following three defeats in four, the former Porto boss was fined £12,000 and warned as to his future conduct by the Football Association yesterday over his attack on referee Chris Foy after last month’s defeat at QPR.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY | LEVERKUSEN
A draw tonight and Chelsea would have to at least match Leverkusen’s result in Genk on the final day to top the group. A win at the BayArena will see Chelsea needing a point against Valencia to top the section if the Spaniards beat Genk.
Seventh in the Bundesliga, Saturday’s 2-0 win at Kaiserslautern was only Bayer’s second in their last five matches. They’ve only won twice at home this season.
Winger Andre Schurrle, 21, is a tricky customer who has scored five goals in 11 senior international appearances.