Paul Merson suggest Chelsea are missing the services of David Luiz

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson suggests Chelsea are missing the ball-playing abilities of David Luiz at the heart of the defence. The Brazil international has been an influential performer for the Blues over the years, but he is no longer in their ranks after he made the surprise move to Premier League rivals Arsenal before the transfer deadline.

Since then, the Blues have opened their Premier League campaign with a disappointing 4-0 loss to Manchester United on the road and Merson believes the departure of Luiz from the club’s ranks has reduced the quality in the club’s backline. Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson indicated that goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga prefers to play out from the back and that may not necessarily suit the current central defensive combination of Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma.

“I go to Stamford Bridge a lot, and Chelsea's defence are asked to play out nearly all the time. Kepa doesn't kick anything long. Luiz was the best player on the ball by a million miles. Now all of a sudden, you've got players who can't play out, and teams will suffocate them. Frank Lampard has got to be careful. Chelsea have let their best ball-playing defender leave to go to their rivals, not just in London but in the top four. None of their defenders can play out from the back,” he told.

In the absence of Antonio Rudiger due to fitness, Zouma and Christensen started in the central defence and the former had plenty of nerves as he nearly gifted the opening goal to Anthony Martial through a mistimed pass. Thereafter, he did actually that by conceding a reckless penalty and that helped United secure a 1-0 lead at the break.

In the second period, the Blues came with better intent but the disorganisation of the backline meant that the Red Devils pounced on the counter-attack to score three more goals. The defeat sees the Blues in the drop zone after the opening gameweek of the new Premier League season.