Despite just a few appearances since his arrival in the summer window, Thiago Silva is beginning to make a sizeable impact at Chelsea and he impressed on Tuesday night.
The Blues drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge against Sevilla in the Champions League group stages and were lacking a cutting edge in attack, but defensively they took giant strides forward.
Frank Lampard’s side have seen their defensive weakness exposed already at different times this season and it’s an area they have to improve.
But a new-look backline that included signing Edouard Mendy, Ben Chilwell and Silva all impressed to help earn a clean sheet.
Three-time Chelsea title-winner Joe Cole picked out centre-back Silva for his display on the Champions League stage and claimed he was a magnet heading crosses away.
“This is why he makes such a difference because he’s a magnet with the ball,” Cole told BT Sport 3 (10:06pm, 20 October).
It’s a great point raised that Silva was dominant in the air against Sevilla, as he made a number of headed clearances in the game and his positional awareness made it so comfortable for him.
Silva has made just four appearances for Chelsea so far and aside from an error in his Premier League debut agains Crystal Palace he’s been faultless.
The 36-year-old is a streetwise centre-back that has played at the elite level with Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and national side Brazil, which is why it’s no surprise his presence is a calming influence in defence.
Chelsea aren’t going to lose too many aerial battles with Silva and Kurt Zouma contesting high balls, but it’s his leadership and intelligence to read the game that makes him top-class.