In Focus: Thiago can inspire Blues to more Silvaware
Thomas Tuchel has his Chelsea side sitting comfortably at the top of the Premier League table after 12 games of the 2021-22 campaign.
The Blues have kept eight clean sheets this season and shipped just four goals — no club has conceded fewer.
At the heart of their defence, veteran Thiago Silva has demonstrated a wealth of experience and professionalism as his club pushes for their first league title since 2017.
The Brazilian has already had a glittering career, winning multiple trophies including the Champions League, Ligue 1, Serie A and Copa America.
We take a look at how his fine form could see him add an English title to that impressive honours list come May.
Silva had been targeting success in the Champions League for the entirety of his career.
The 37-year-old has played in some fantastic teams — including an AC Milan side that featured Ronaldinho and Andrea Pirlo — but triumph in Europe's premier competition had always eluded him.
Therefore, it is not surprising that glory with Chelsea last season seems to have given Silva a new lease of life on the field.
Carrying over his inspired form from last term, he appears to be in a prime position to add to his impressive career haul of 32 trophies with the Blues still challenging on four fronts.
The no-nonsense defender has been labelled as one of the best centre-backs of his generation — but he has not always been reliable due to an extensive injury record.
According to Transfermarkt, Silva has missed a whopping 294 days through injury since 2010 and has been absent for a total of 96 games as a result.
That was always going to be a worry for the Chelsea board when making their move but securing the ex-Milan player on a free transfer was too good an offer to refuse.
Tuchel worked with the defender at Paris Saint-Germain and will have been well aware of his injury concerns — and the German has recently praised Silva for his outstanding mindset in overcoming so many obstacles.
The Chelsea boss said: "From the first day I met him in Paris, he was a fantastic professional and an outstanding captain. What a fantastic person.
"The approach from him to recovery, to live this life as a professional player is outstanding.
"What he eats, when he eats, how he recovers, how he trains on the pitch — he is full-on, there is no training session where he is trying to hold back."
The perfect defence
As he approaches the latter stages of his career, Silva has had to adapt his defensive style — especially in a fast-paced, physical environment such as the Premier League.
Silva has played in the middle of a back three for Chelsea, with Antonio Rudiger and one of Andreas Christensen, Cesar Azpilicueta and Trevoh Chalobah taking up a position on either side of the Brazilian.
This combination has provided the Blues' backline with balance — Rudiger is a faster and more aggressive centre-back and can therefore play man to man, with Silva covering in behind.
Chalobah, meanwhile, has featured most recently on the right side of a back three and has a similar approach to Rudiger.
That combination of pace, power and positioning is certainly a cause for Chelsea's fantastic defensive record this season, with the London club leading the league on goal difference.
Silva's contract is set to expire in June but rumours of an extension to his contract have recently emerged.
The former PSG man agreed a one-year deal in 2020 and then signed on for a further year after Chelsea's European conquest.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the Brazilian wants to stay in Europe for one more season and wishes to extend his stay in London for a third and final year.
Such an agreement is sure to please the fans and coaching staff alike, with Tuchel still viewing him as an important part of his plans.
The Brazilian's role as a mentor to the likes of Chalobah and other young products within the Chelsea ranks is invaluable.
They will do well to learn as much as they can from him while he remains a Blue.