Thiago Silva Injury: Chelsea defender’s ligament damage could leave Blues struggling for a replacement
Just when things can’t get any worse for Chelseathey get hit on defense because Thiago Silva will miss five to six weeks due to a knee injury. Silva, despite being 38 years old, has been Chelsea’s most important defensive player this season. With the Brazilian in the squad, the Blues were able to keep six clean sheets to remain competitive even when their spectacle problems continue under Graham Potter.
Also assuming the role of one of the club’s captains, Silva’s significance transcends the field for a Chelsea team lacking balance.
“Having suffered a knee injury in the first half of Sunday’s match against Tottenham Hotspur, Thiago underwent further evaluation and scan upon return to the training center on Monday.” club statement said. “Scan results have confirmed Thiago’s knee ligament injury and he will now work closely with the club’s medical department during rehabilitation to ensure he returns to action as soon as possible.”
Without Silva, how will Potter and the club complete their spiral? On the lookout for silver linings, this is something they will need to figure out soon anyway due to his age, so perhaps it could be a bright spot that the injury happened during what turns out to be a lost season for Chelsea. . Having finished tenth in the Premier League after losing to Tottenham at the weekend, Chelsea are now 14 points behind the top four, but they have depth in central defence.
Here are their options for coping with his loss:
Wesley Fofana is on the way back
The easily forgotten defender was a member of the Chelsea team. Fofana has made just six appearances for the club since joining from Leicester City in 2022. His limited time on the field is due to a knee injury and a failure to return to full form. With a few minutes off the bench in Chelsea’s last few games, Fofana is likely to be the member of the squad that replaces Silva. The Frenchman is comfortable with the ball and isn’t afraid to dive into tackles, but it’s important to prove he’s fit. It is difficult to return after so many years of absence, but he will have the support of Benoit Badishil and Kalidou Koulibaly. The lack of depth could result in Potter not using Fofana in the back three, but if he wants to, Fofana will be comfortable in that setup.
Koulibaly can help with the void of leadership
Through his experience around the world, he has won a major competition with SenegalKoulibaly began show why Chelsea wanted him to raise the defence. Things will be different if he gets a new partner, as Silva’s understanding of space is unmatched, but Koulibaly’s air dominance helps ensure that his partners in the center of defense have fewer defensive options. Since Fofana is a mobile defender, this still makes up for the speed that Koulibaly can sometimes lack. With Badiashile unable to play in the Champions League due to not being registered with a limited number of roster spots, this further limits the options.
The rest of the squad
Trevo Chalobah and Badiashile are mobile options if Potter wants to pick up the pace, but when Chelsea don’t capitalize on their attacking chances, it’s pretty hard to justify using defenders with the ball when the attackers lose the ball and leave them vulnerable on the counter. Both are good at what they do, but they work better in a back three or when the Chelsea forwards are more confident. If Potter can make things click again, Badiashiel’s long pass from deep could be critical to opening up the defence, but when Chelsea lost their fear factor, it only causes the team to crack under pressure.