Chelsea’s Journey to Newcastle Will Put Thiago Silva Reliance to the Take a look at
For the reason that full-time whistle blew in Frank Lampard’s first recreation as Chelsea head coach and the Blues had been questioning how that they had simply shipped 4 targets in opposition to Manchester United, questions have been requested over the boss’ skill to organise a defence.
It is a concern which has been answered considerably this season with the signing of Thiago Silva, the 36-year-old Brazilian who joined on a free switch from Paris Saint-Germain and instantly turned Chelsea into one of many meanest defences within the Premier League.
Sadly, due to his age and declining bodily health, he cannot be relied upon to play week in, week out – notably after main PSG to the Champions League last late into the summer season with little or no restoration time – and he seems set to be rested for Saturday’s journey to Newcastle United.
Lampard’s aspect have conceded only one objective of their final six video games, 5 of which Silva was part of. He sat out the comfy 4-0 win over Krasnodar, however his solely absence within the league got here as Chelsea capitulated in opposition to Southampton.
Chelsea shipped three targets with a centre-back pairing of Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen, however they did even have the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga in objective. Happily, the Spaniard has since been changed by Edouard Mendy, who has performed greater than his fair proportion relating to strengthening the Blues’ again line.
It means the one take a look at of a Silva-less Chelsea aspect (with a dependable goalkeeper) was a staff who’re nearer to the relegation zone within the Russian Premier Liga than they’re to the league leaders and who managed simply 29% possession on the day they confronted the Blues. With all due respect, that is hardly the most important menace.
Saturday’s assembly with Newcastle seems set to reply numerous questions.
How reliant upon Silva are Chelsea? How necessary is Mendy? Has Lampard truly performed something or is that this run of success all on his new signings?
There’s cause to consider that Lampard has been placing within the work. Chelsea’s method to defending set-pieces is much superior than final yr, when solely Ligue 1 strugglers Amiens conceded extra targets from corners than the Blues. Adjustments have clearly been made on the ways board.
Nonetheless, there’ll undoubtedly be a reliance on Silva, whose function as an on-field common is irreplaceable at instances. Simply ask PSG.
Whereas the Ligue 1 champions have predictably continued to steamroll the competitors at a home stage, their file of two defeats from three Champions League video games undoubtedly will get alarm bells ringing for a aspect who had been taking part in within the last of the competitors just some months in the past.
The introduction of Abdou Diallo or Danilo Pereira has not made up for the lack of Silva, and it stays to be seen who will likely be given the possibility to compensate for the Brazilian’s omission at St James’ Park.
On paper, you’d assume it would be Antonio Rudiger who will step in. The German has been taking part in within the Champions League and has been the primary reserve within the Premier League for the final three video games, so he looks as if the most-likely candidate for a cameo look right here.
Rudiger’s involvement would create its personal little subplot. St James’ was the scene of one of many defender’s greatest crimes final yr when he inexplicably ducked to permit Isaac Hayden to bundle house a 94th-minute winner when the 2 sides met in January.
Whether it is Rudiger who performs, will probably be right down to the German to make up for his error final yr and show that he nonetheless has what it takes to steer Chelsea’s defence, and he’ll be continually in comparison with Silva, the precise chief, whereas he does so.
All of this defensive uncertainty will come on a floor at which Chelsea have managed only one victory since 2011, and even that sole triumph got here courtesy of an 87th-minute personal objective from DeAndre Yedlin. Chelsea simply do not like St James’ Park.
The Blues haven’t any time to consider that file or fret about taking part in with out Silva. Their claims that they’ve sorted out their defence are on the road. It is time to see whether or not Lampard has made Chelsea higher, or whether or not he is added a 36-year-old defender to try this job for him.
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