The Debrief: Thiago Silva prominent; defending front to back

Top tackling, well-placed passing

With Chelsea reacting to the three goals shipped in the Premier League draw against Southampton at the weekend with last night’s scoreless Champions League opener with Sevilla, attention was naturally on the changes to the defence made for the game.

The 0-0 draw was the first such scoreline in Frank Lampard’s time in charge, in what was his 63rd game at the helm, and the club’s first since playing Leicester away in Maurizio Sarri’s final league game in May 2019.

In terms of his personnel choice against Sevilla, Thiago Silva and Reece James came into the backline and Edouard Mendy returned in goal and all three backed up their selections with statistics.

James was the top tackler among the players from either side with six made. Add to that three clearances and one shot blocked, with no fouls committed, and it was solid contribution. He managed to make it forward for five of his crosses too.

Thiago Silva’s performance was praised by Lampard after the game and his standout influence was on the ball. He played the most passes in the game by a Chelsea player with 60, with a game-best accuracy of 90 per cent among the Blues who were on the pitch for more than a few minutes of the contest.

His heatmap below shows he was needed out wide as well as in the centre to counter-attack Sevilla’s threat. 
 

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