3. Other myths
There are other non-facts being circulated that just don’t hold water, if you’re paying any attention. Some have claimed “Silva is babysitting Zouma” or “Silva has improved Zouma.” This is why the statistics highlighted in this piece spanned the beginning of last season and run through the current date—there’s nothing Zouma is doing now that he wasn’t doing last season. Zouma was Chelsea’s best centerback last season, and has shown that he still is this year. It’s no coincidence that the Frenchman kept his place in the starting line-up out of all the centerbacks who played last season. Silva did not improve Zouma’s positioning this season, Zouma has always been positionally excellent.
Since the start of last season, Zouma has made two errors leading to shots. For comparison, van Dijk made just one error leading to shot and two errors leading to goal, but one is branded as “error-prone”, guess who? Zouma had the ninth best average rating (6.92) among centerbacks with 19 appearances or more last season. This season so far, the 26-year-old has recorded the second highest rating in the league (7.23) amongst centerbacks with nine or more appearances. Silva? He doesn’t even make it into the top 10 this season, he’s ranked 17th.
Before you say “just watch him, you’d see what I mean!”, we’ve all watched him. We’re giving wrong evaluations of his ability, so now statistics have to be rolled out. There’s a reason why Chelsea has not recorded a win when Zouma was not on the pitch (West Brom and Aston Villa). These are the numbers.