Well, well, Chelsea is finally looking like the club it is supposed to be. That’s not to say the Blues are at their absolute best, or that each player has taken a positive leap in their performances, this team is a work in progress. However, performances like the one against Burnley—and now against rival Tottenham—show that there is a difference in quality between Frank Lampard’s side towards the end of his reign and Thomas Tuchel’s side.
The game was full of highs and lows, so here are the three takeaways from the derby win and Tuchel’s first three games in charge:
1. Thiago Silva impacts the team in more ways than one
Thiago Silva is 36 years old and he is undoubtedly one of the leaders in the Chelsea dressing room. He is an elite defender, one could even go as far as to say he’s one of the best in the world. Silva is so mature in his decision making, so comfortable with the ball at his feet and very crucial to the Blues’ build-up play. This was the steal of the transfer window, even if he is not exactly in his prime years. Tuchel recognized all this and has made him one of the most important players in the team, and by far the most crucial defensive piece in the back three.
Let’s be real here: In these three Tuchel games, Chelsea hasn’t had much defending to do, but when it has, everyone has risen to the occasion, most of which has been Silva. The Brazilian was fighting for every single ball, his defensive IQ was on display multiple times and his defensive awareness was in tip-top condition. He is so important in Chelsea’s build-up. With one single pass, one single body feint, one single turn, he helps the team in escaping the opponents’ press. It’s baffling. Let me reiterate: he is 36 years old. He was doing all of this against Tottenham, all in one half—it was breathtaking.
All of this is why this next paragraph is worrying. He is not only one of Chelsea’s best defenders, he is clearly one of the best players the Blues have overall, period. However, he picked up an injury in the first half of the game against Tottenham, and that left everyone linked to Chelsea worried. The Blues are in kind of a good moment right now, and they can’t afford to lose Silva. Unfortunately though, they did. No one knows the extent of this injury, but we all hope it’s not long-term.