Thiago Silva is expected to be out for six weeks due to a knee ligament injury and worryingly for Chelsea, he has proved to be their best player both defensively and offensively this season.

The 38-year-old injured his knee ligaments in Sunday’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and according to the Evening Standard, he could be out for up to six weeks.

This means Silva is almost certainly going to miss out on the next two games, including the crucial second-leg match of Chelsea’s round-of-16 tie against Borussia Dortmund next week.

Silva, who has played more minutes than any other Chelsea player this season, obviously plays a key role in the team’s defence.

It is safe to say that he is the biggest reason Chelsea managed to concede the third-fewest goals in the league so far, despite their abysmal form.

Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea FC - Premier League
Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

In terms of centre-back options, Graham Potter luckily has plenty of options, such as Kalidou Koulibaly, Trevoh Chalobah, and Benoit Badiashile.

It is worth mentioning that Badiashile, in particular, is not registered in Chelsea’s Champions League squad, so he will not be available against Dortmund.

Defensively, these three are solid options, but to Chelsea, Silva is more than just a defender.

Chelsea rely on him a lot in terms of progressing the ball.

Statistics suggest that Silva has made more passes into the final third than any other Chelsea player, in addition to being best or second-best in various defensive actions.

This is partly thanks to his ability to make long passes. He averages almost five successful long balls per game this season, second only to Enzo Fernandez at Chelsea.

Badiashile’s four long balls per game are good, too, but the other centre-backs are nowhere close to their output.

So, without Silva, Chelsea are more likely to rely on their full-backs and midfielders in getting the ball out of their defensive half.

It will still work, but Chelsea, who are already having a hard time in scoring goals, might become even more predictable.

On a more positive note, N’Golo Kante is close to an injury return, and his ability to drive with the ball can help negate the impact of Silva’s absence.

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