Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has claimed that opposition teams will suffocate Chelsea in the absence of ​David Luiz, and said that none of the defenders they have currently at the club can play out from the back.

​Chelsea sold Luiz to Arsenal on deadline day for £8million, despite the club not being allowed to sign any new players in the current and the next transfer window. The Blues are relying mainly on youngsters, as was evident in their opening day defeat to Manchester United.

Merson believes that losing Luiz could be a problem for manager Frank Lampard, especially if he continues to insist that the players should play out from the back.

“I go to Stamford Bridge a lot, and Chelsea's defence are asked to play out nearly all the time,” Merson said to Sky Sports. “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.

“Kurt Zouma just didn't look ready. He didn't look ready before this, which is why he went out on loan. It's a dangerous, dangerous game. The fans liked David Luiz. They need to get results quickly, because the fans won't be happy watching them play out and lose the ball. It looked like Frank looked at the situation and thought: 'I need it quiet here, I can't be having problems', so Chelsea let Luiz go. Sometimes that's the way it is, and great managers have a high-maintenance player and get them to perform.”

It remains to be seen if Chelsea will indeed face problems due to the absence of Luiz or if they will end up finding an internal solution.