Neil Humphreys: Gunners great for us, but awful for Arsenal
At Emery's Cirque du Silly, Luiz the clown and Co create insane, hypnotic football
David Luiz should be studied in a laboratory. The Ozzy Osbourne of the English Premier League defies regular classification.
Like Osbourne, Luiz is undoubtedly talented, but wildly unpredictable.
He's a living miracle of a man who has taken a career much further than anyone expected.
Osbourne was studied in a laboratory, according to reports last month. A human genome company examined the rock star's DNA to determine how he has survived so much drug and alcohol abuse.
The data discovered, perhaps not surprisingly, that Osbourne is a genetic mutant.
So are the madcap Gunners, led by the mercurial Luiz, a centre-back who has never met a trickier opponent than the one living in his own head.
Critics claim that Luiz and the Gunners are the wrong fit.
They are the best match this side of Tinder, which is exactly what Arsenal are: flammable, volatile but so hypnotic.
They can't defend. They can't tackle without collecting more cards than an overworked croupier. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno behaves as if his hands are being controlled elsewhere and his manager keeps confusing himself for an anarchist.
Unai Emery leapt around in the North London Derby, seemingly delighted that his tactical anarchy was working, that he was literally watching the world burn.
The scene was demented, disorganised and utterly chaotic, but delightful to witness.
If Manchester City are Rolls-Royces and Liverpool are gleaming red Ferraris, then the Gunners are a car crash.
Luxury vehicles attract admiring glances, but only a car crash stops the traffic.
Despite pinching a 2-2 draw against their old enemies, the Arsenal faithful must be having their faith tested with Emery.
What kind of manager sends out such a swashbuckling forward line against even faster, superior opposition?
What sort of coach persists with Granit Xhaka, a central midfielder who flails and kicks like he's being held under water?
And what leader of any description sends Luiz anywhere that isn't a hairdresser?
Only the naive, idealistic, perhaps even crazy coach flapping around in the Arsenal dugout, that's who.
Emery appears incapable of tactical compromise, whether the opponents are Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool or even Burnley. Arguably, the Gunners deserved to lose all three of those matches. Amazingly, they fell only at Anfield.
Since Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger last summer, he has managed 15 games against the "Big Six" clubs in league and cup contests. He's won only three times.
Such a poor record is scarcely an improvement on the final, tired days of the Wenger era.
FEELING THE PRESSURE
The Spaniard should be feeling the pressure.
Instead, he doubles down. Even against Spurs, Emery insisted on pairing Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with Nicolas Pepe in close support.
The bold move handed Tottenham the freedom of their left flank. Indeed, the approach was suicidal when one factored in Arsenal's defensive wall.
There wasn't one.
Sitting in front of the back four, Xhaka lost an aerial battle before the first goal and conceded a penalty so clumsy and stupid for the second that he deserves a role in the next Jim Carrey comedy.
Then there's Luiz. The fine line between insanity and genius can be measured in the space between him and his opponents.
Some defenders prefer man-marking. Others favour zonal marking. Luiz likes to wander across the turf like an elderly relative that worries the family whenever he leaves the house for a stroll in the park.
He went missing before Spurs' opener. He went walkabout when Mohamed Salah surged forward at Anfield last week. Luiz might be the only centre-back that considers defending to be an optional extra.
At any other club, this might be at problem. At Emery's Cirque du Silly, however, the Brazilian is just one high-wire act among several heart-in-mouth routines.
Whether it's Luiz's funny walks, Leno's comedic ball-slapping, Xhaka's high-kicking antics and Emery's demented insistence that he will overcome his greatest opponents - his own back four - the Gunners have perfected the football circus.
Every risky performance is played without a safety net. Every routine blends danger, excitement and comedy. They can be thrilling or farcical.
But they are never dull.
Lacazette, Aubameyang and Pepe bring the quality. Luiz and Xhaka bring the chaos.
Who prevails on any given day is anyone's guess.
As a form of entertainment, anarchy has a limited shelf life, which is probably why Osbourne is retiring.
But Luiz and Xhaka are still around, along with Emery's crazy tactics, which means we can all dream of a long Arsenal season that is utterly insane.