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Talking Tactics

New signings: Thiago Silva well suited to Lampard's style

Adrian Clarke 30 Aug 2020
Thiago Silva, Chelsea

Adrian Clarke says 35-year-old defender will help Chelsea build from the back, while his aerial prowess will also be valuable

Adrian Clarke assesses players who have changed clubs this summer and can make an impact in 2020/21.

Thiago Silva (CHE)

The experience and class of Thiago Silva will enhance Chelsea’s defensive unit this season.

He may be approaching his 36th birthday but the centre-back's contributions for Paris Saint-Germain has not waned in recent years.

Displaying calm assurance on and off the ball, the Brazilian should take the Premier League by storm.

Building from the back

Frank Lampard likes Chelsea to build their attacks from deep, and this approach is ideal for Thiago Silva. He is outstanding in possession, rarely giving the ball away.

In fact, as he fed a stream of precise passes into PSG's midfielders and frontmen last term, he registered the best passing accuracy of any player across Europe's top five leagues.

His accuracy over longer distances is also top class. During the Ligue 1 campaign, 76.4 per cent of his long passes found a team-mate.

The Brazilian often steps into midfield to start attacks so his confident distribution will be a wonderful asset to the side. 

Passing accuracy 2019/20
Player* Club League Passing accuracy
Thiago Silva PSG Ligue 1  95.5%
Marlon Santos Sassuolo Serie A 94.3%
Axel Witsel B. Dortmund Bundesliga  94.1%
Jason Denayer Lyon Ligue 1  94.0%
Toni Kroos Real Madrid LaLiga  93.5%

*Minimum 20 matches played

Chelsea ended the season using a 3-4-2-1 formation and, in that shape, Thiago Silva would fit perfectly in the centre of a three-man unit.

He can play on the left or right side of a back-four pairing. But, as a natural deep-lying playmaker, he is well suited to operating in the middle of a trio.

Aerial prowess

Chelsea were vulnerable when defending crosses last season.

Their 11 headed goals conceded was the third-highest total in the Premier League and represented a 20.8 per cent share of the total goals they let in.

Only Wolverhampton Wanderers, with 25 per cent, conceded a higher ratio from headers.

At 6ft tall, Thiago Silva is not physically imposing, but he is still strong in the air.

In last season's UEFA Champions League (UCL) he won 76.9 per cent of his aerial duels. 

Thiago Silva stats 2019/20
Competition Ligue 1 UCL
Minutes 1,573 810
Aerials won/90 1.8 2.2
Aerial success % 62.0 76.9
Tackles won/90 0.9 0.7
Tackles success % 57.1 50.0
Interceptions/90 1.5 1.4
Blocks/90 0.9 0.9

Thiago Silva is a fine reader of the game and, if Lampard persists with a 3-4-2-1 system, his new signing will ably cover the two defenders either side of him.

He has been a world-class centre-back for many years and was imperious during PSG’s run to the UCL final.

For one season, or possibly two, Thiago Silva could be a big success for Chelsea. 

Also in this series 

Part 1: World-class Ziyech can do the spectacular
Part 2: Lallana offers Brighton a cutting edge
Part 3: Hojbjerg can tighten up Spurs' midfield
Part 4: Salisu's physicality well-suited to Premier League
Part 5: Ake will balance out Man City defence
Part 7: Willian will add creative flair to Arsenal
Part 8: Eze can make Palace an attacking force
Part 9: Intelligent Rodrigo a natural fit for Leeds

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