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In Focus: Thiago the Silva lining as Blues limp to mid-table finish
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Mitchell Fretton
LiveScore
Thiago Silva turns 39 in September
Thiago Silva turns 39 in September

Chelsea have endured a poor Premier League campaign but can look forward to a fresh start next season as they prepare to welcome new manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Thiago Silva was one of several players who had their future cast into doubt when Thomas Tuchel was dismissed last September but the Brazilian looks likely to remain at Stamford Bridge for another season.

The veteran defender turns 39 in September and is contracted to the West London club until 2024.

Ahead of the Blues' clash with Manchester City on Sunday, we take a look at whether Silva can keep his first-team place next term.

Better together

Age may not be on Silva's side but his performance levels have not dropped since he moved to the Premier League in 2020.

The 113-cap international had enjoyed successful spells at Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan, winning 19 major trophies across an 11-year period.

And his quality in defence was evident during his first season at Chelsea when he helped the Blues overcome City to win the Champions League in the summer of 2021.

In the Premier League, the club's record is significantly better with him in the starting XI than when he is absent — six of their 10 league clean sheets this season have come when the No6 is present.

Despite their struggles in front of goal, only City and Newcastle have conceded fewer than the Blues in the English top flight this term.

Thiago Silva has been immense at the back for Chelsea
Thiago Silva has been immense at the back for Chelsea

Perfect role model

Caretaker boss Frank Lampard recently praised Silva for his contributions to the team.

Lampard said: "Thiago is a credit in all aspects. He's a classy, brilliant player. His career says it all.

"He's also got a really great mind and he has a winning mentality so he would have been suffering a bit recently because he feels it, he wears it.

"He's a great reference point for the young centre-backs we have in the team around him."

Setting the example

Chelsea may not have been at their best but there is no denying that Silva has set a shining example to his colleagues this term.

Compared to his team-mates, the South American colossus has been on another level when you look at a number of key metrics.

No Chelsea player has made more interceptions, clearances or won possession more times than the Rio de Janeiro native.

And while he leads the way in defence, Silva also tops the rankings on the ball.

He boasts unrivalled numbers for passes completed, passing accuracy, touches and long balls completed.

Thiago Silva takes charge of Chelsea's passages of play
Thiago Silva takes charge of Chelsea's passages of play

A class of his own

Chelsea have suffered some heavy defeats in the 2022-23 campaign, a 3-0 loss to Leeds early in the season was followed up by an embarrassing defeat at Southampton before Brighton put four past them on the South Coast.

But that has not stopped pundits heaping praise on Silva, who could be the man to lead the Blues into a new era under Pochettino.

Following the 0-0 draw with Fulham back in February, Gary Neville hailed the Brazilian, saying: "He just impresses me every time I see him. He's a world-class player."

Jamie Carragher supported that verdict, adding: "There is no doubt at his best he is one of the best defenders in world football."

If there is to be any hope of Chelsea getting back to their best next season, Silva has to remain one of the first names on the team sheet.

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