Chelsea suffered a miserable 4-1 loss at the hands of Newcastle United over the weekend, a defeat that brought them back down to earth after some impressive results.
Despite a mounting injury list, the Magpies wanted it more and outran their London opponents to secure a vital victory.
Newcastle’s relentless pressure forced Chelsea to make mistakes and they crumbled, even the most experienced of them.
Chelsea defender Thiago Silva is the oldest Premier League player, and his form is beginning to drop at a worrying rate. His recent showings should send alarm bells ringing at Stamford Bridge.
The Brazilian international was not at fault for the first or Newcastle’s second goal and reacted brilliantly when Anthony Gordon cut in to bend his cross into the Chelsea box. Silva stepped up to create an offside trap, using his experience to read the situation.
However, he failed to carry his entire defensive line along with him, allowing Jamaal Lascelles to head home and restore Newcastle’s lead.
If he was not at fault for the first and the second, the experienced defender was very much the culprit for the third, as he lost his concentration and footing. Joelinton stole the ball and marched towards goal before firing into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
If Chelsea had any ideas about finding a way back into the game, Silva’s mistake ended those thoughts as they succumbed to defeat that left them sitting in tenth.
Silva’s struggles against Newcastle aren’t isolated incidents, marking a recurring theme in his season, despite what all the stat-heads will have you believe.
The former Paris Saint-Germain centre-back has struggled with the demands of Pochettino’s high defensive line.
His pace has waned, and the famous power that led to his ‘O Monstro’ nickname is dwindling.
Silva also failed to cover Gordon as he cut inside Benoit Badiashile to score Newcastle’s fourth goal. These are the little details that the stat platforms never show, and these details tell the story of a world-class defender losing his edge.
Against Manchester City, Silva failed to read the flight of Bernardo Silva’s cross for Manuel Akanji’s goal, and he inadvertently turned in Rodri’s shot for their fourth goal. These errors further highlight his struggles.
These mistakes have continued throughout the season, and Pochettino will be tempted to drop him after conceding 12 goals in their last three games, but it is not like the Chelsea boss has better options.
Axel Disasi has not looked comfortable in the Premier League since his summer move from AS Monaco. Wesley Fofana and Trevoh Chalobah have been sidelined for most of the season.
Pochettino will have to bear through Silva’s rough patch, but the signs are ominous that the 39-year-old will not receive a new contract as he enters the final six months of his deal.
Is it time for Silva to drop to the bench? Absolutely, but Chelsea do not have better options at their disposal and must ride things out with him before letting him go at the end of the season.
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