With Brazil’s opening World Cup fixture against Croatia but three sleeps away, news.bwin.com/en/ reprise the secret weapons series to help punters cut through the hype ahead of the fixture.
A Selecao are 3/10 favourites to beat the Balkanistas and with a rival midfield featuring Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric, expect our clandestine operative to be instrumental in them landing the odds.
The thread that previously alerted you to the importance of Chelsea’s ‘Blue Kenyan’ and Arsenal’s ‘Prodigal Son’ and utterly misfired with Aston Villa’s ‘Mr Dependable’ is back.
This time it’s former Arsenal target Luiz Gustavo of Wolfsburg blinking in the glare of seldom-experienced limelight.
He’s played four of the last five friendlies in Brazil’s deep midfield two.
Meanwhile, Luiz Felipe Scolari has chopped and changed the more box-office alternatives, Ramires, Paulinho and Fernandinho around him.
Luiz Gustavo averaged a formidable 3.2 tackles. 2.4 interceptions and 1.9 aerial duals-won in the Bundesliga last term.
On the ball he hit a mean 48.3 passes at a success rate of 86.6 per cent and 5.1 target-finding long-range passes an outing.
Starting all but five games for Die Wolfe, the former FC Bayern man will feel vindicated in decision to deadbat interest from Arsenal and Tottenham last August, in favour of remaining settled in Germany ahead of the World Cup.
As for why he is so beloved of Scolari, it comes down to Luiz Gustavo’s resolute commitment to the rearguarding side of the defensive-midfielder’s trade.
For alternatives such as Fernandinho and Ramires, the lure of joining in with attacks is far greater and thus the prospect of the Canarinho defence being exposed on the counter attack.
In turn, employing the most negatively-minded of his available ingredients allows Scolari to field Paulinho, a player whose influence he values sufficiently to offer the Tottenham man assurances over his place in the team months ago, despite an underwhelming season in Lilywhite.