The Brazilian defender holds the key to Chelsea’s success within its own penalty area and within the Blues’ own half without the ball.
Thiago Silva is going to be essential for Chelsea, which is notable as it seems like the 38-year-old has aged like a fine wine. As time has gone on, the Brazilian defender has never shown any signs of becoming a below average defender. Although he’s had to alter his game to maintain his peak level of play, he’s still one of the world’s best.
Since arriving at Chelsea in the summer, Silva shown his very best and his very worst for all to see. We all remember his blunder against West Bromwich Albion, but when he and Edouard Mendy have started together, Chelsea is still yet to concede a goal. In those matches, the Blues kept clean sheets against Sevilla in the Champions League and Crystal Palace in the Premier League. I don’t think I need to stress the importance of Mendy, but Silva is a different story.
Silva is such a high caliber defender that he makes those around him better. His experience and leadership at the back was indicative against Sevilla. Towards the end of the game, Silva told Mendy to just punt the ball long and to stop messing around with it in their own half, which was a refreshing sign.
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That’s his experience shining through. The Brazilian knew there was a time and a place to try to play out from the back, he recognized that was not it. It’s not a major breakthrough, but it’s refreshing to know that Silva sees the potential risk of trying to play like the Galacticos. Knowing with how shaky the defense has been, the clean sheet is worth more than the risk of trying to score.
His leadership in that role at the back has already shown itself to be an important part of his game. The way he positions players around him in the manner of a captain is a welcome role the club hasn’t really seen since the departure of Gary Cahill. Silva does that so well, and it really gives guidance to the youngsters around him. Someone like Fikayo Tomori could benefit greatly from having a mentor like Silva around because Tomori can develop quicker. Learning from someone who—at their best—was one of the best centerbacks in world football is great for the player and great for the club.
Now after speaking about his impact on those around him, it’s time to get to the main course: Silva isn’t a half bad defender himself. Still being the most talented defender at the club, he’s a very important part of the Blues’ squad going forward. His ability to read the play is going to be vital if Chelsea wants to mount a challenge for any form of silverware this season. There’s certainly a shot at trophies with the attacking power the side possesses, if only the defense can just hold up.
It’s no secret how talented the Brazilian is, regardless of the length of his stay at Stamford Bridge. He’s a serial winner; that comes with his ability to defend and improve the quality of those around him. I’m not going to sit here and guarantee he’s going to keep 38 clean sheets this year for Chelsea because that would be completely ridiculous. That kind of expectation on anyone is utterly insane, but to say he can improve the defending in the side enough to be able to contend for the title isn’t a stretch.
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