Pep Guardiola ‘laughs a lot’ when pundits criticise Arsenal star David Luiz

Pep Guardiola has jumped to the defence of Arsenal defender David Luiz
Pep Guardiola has jumped to the defence of Arsenal defender David Luiz (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola has jumped to the defence of Arsenal defender David Luiz and has accused the pundits who have written him off of hypocrisy.

The 33-year-old joined the Gunners last summer from Chelsea and has endured something of a roller coaster season. Luiz struggled badly at the heart of a four-man defence under Unai Emery, but returned to form almost from the moment Mikel Arteta was appointed as his Spanish compatriot’s permanent replacement.

Luiz, however, was caught up in complex contract wrangle at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and was taken out of the firing line by Arteta when Arsenal visited the Etihad last month.

Arteta was forced, however, to summon the vastly experienced Brazil international from the bench following an injury to Pablo Mari and Luiz subsequently turned in a disastrous performance, culminating in him being given his marching orders for a professional foul on Riyad Mahrez at the start of the second half.

Afterwards, Jamie Carragher urged Arsenal not to offer Luiz a new deal, while his fellow Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has previously described the former PSG defender as ‘uncoachable’ and a ‘PlayStation footballer’.

David Luiz was sent off during Arsenal's 3-0 defeat against Man City last month
David Luiz was sent off during Arsenal’s 3-0 defeat against Man City last month (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal resolved Luiz’s contractual situation earlier this month, offering a contract extension, and he has hardly put a foot wrong since Arteta’s switch to a 3-5-2 formation.

Guardiola, meanwhile, believes it is inevitable that the risk-taking centre-half will commit further errors in his career but revealed he is a huge admirer of Luiz’s style on the pitch, and the way he conducts himself off it.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal, he said: ‘I have an incredible respect for him, for his career. He is an exceptional player with an incredible mentality and especially personality.

‘I laugh a lot at all the pundits, that when they were a defender that they didn’t believe they make one mistake in their careers when they play 10 or 15 years?

‘I like that he is still playing football and I am pretty sure he is going to make more good actions than mistakes but (when he does) with dignity. It is part of the game so I have a lot of respect for this player, a lot.’

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