Garth Crooks: This Chelsea signing has made the difference to Antonio Conte

The Tottenham legend singles out Chelsea defender David Luiz for special praise

Garth Crooks believes David Luiz has proven instrumental in the heart of Antonio Conte’s Chelsea defence.

The Brazil international sealed a return to the west London side on the final day of the summer transfer window after he completed a £32m switch from Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Luiz made a forgettable start to his second spell as a Chelsea player following back-to-back defeats by title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal to leave their title challenge in disarray.

However, Conte switched to a 3-4-3 formation with the South American playing as the middle centre-half with Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill either side of the sumemr signing.

And Chelsea have kept six successive clean sheets in victories over Hull City, Leicester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Everton and Middlesbrough.

Former Tottenham forward Crooks is under no illusion to which player has made the vital difference to Conte’s side.

“If you want to know the individual who has made the difference in this new Chelsea back five, you need look no further than David Luiz,” Crooks wrote in his BBC Sport column.

“Against Middlesbrough, he never missed a header, a tackle, or an interception. In fact, he was the architect of the move of the match that resulted in Pedro’s strike crashing against the underside of the bar.

“Luiz has been immense since his return to Stamford Bridge.”

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Chelsea are a point ahead of second-placed Liverpool in the Premier League title race ahead of their home clash against London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge next weekend.

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