Thiago Silva booked Chelsea a place in the FA Cup semi-final as Thomas Tuchel’s side waltzed back to west London 2-0 victors over Middlesbrough. The 37-year-old played a pivotal role in the Blues’ opener, planting the seed to a blossoming attack.
The Brazil international won his aerial duel to retrieve possession completed a suave one-two to evade the press before releasing Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan offloaded possession to Mason Mount, who swept an excellent ball into the feet of Romelu Lukaku.
Silva’s performance at the Riverside Stadium typified the metrics of an all-encompassing modern centre-half, proving – once again – why Paris Saint-Germain was wrong to surrender his services with such reluctance. Frank Lampard’s decision to sign the veteran, who has featured 69 times since swapping Les Parc des Princes for Stamford Bridge, grows more poignant game by game.
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In what seems to be a coincidental response to losing both Silva and Tuchel, PSG has registered interest in drafting Liverpool transfer guru Michael Edwards, according to The Telegraph. The Reds’ sporting director, who announced in November that he was leaving Merseyside for a new challenge, has played an integral role in arming Jurgen Klopp with the tools to become one of the world’s most feared sides.
The French outfit has struggled to optimise their financial power in recent years, with the loss of Tuchel and Silva typifying the mistakes which have seemingly cost the club a maiden Champions League honour. The duo has enjoyed European, and World glory at Chelsea together but are yet to taste domestic silverware on British soil, despite having filled their pockets at PSG, winning two league titles, a Coupe de France, a French league cup and Trophée des Champions.
So, having enjoyed their starter in Paris and the main in Porto, Tuchel and Silva will be rolling up their sleeves for dessert at Wembley. Speaking on BBC One, Jonathan Woodgate labelled the Brazilian as a ‘Rolls-Royce’ defender who has guided Tuchel’s excellently crafted backline through adversity since arriving in west London.
“He’s a Rolls-Royce. 37-years-old and still playing at the top level in the Premier League,” he said. “He never put a foot wrong. He was absolutely exceptional. He reads the game. He’s the leader of the back four or three. He makes it look so easy – it’s the sign of a top defender.”
Woodgate hailed Silva as ‘magnificent’, describing him as a war-hardened chess player who’s always two steps ahead of his opponent.
“He had a pair of slippers on! He was that good,” he said. “He’s so focused and calm on the ball. Reading the game, it’s an outstanding performance. I’m lucky to watch him live, to be honest.
“He’s magnificent. He senses danger, that’s what the top defenders do. He is ahead of the game, two moves ahead, he plays the game like a game of chess. He’s been a fantastic signing for Chelsea.”