Football has never been short of master and apprentice stories. We have seen duos like Carles Pujoy and Gerard Pique, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, and Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez excel in the game over the years. The latest master and apprentice story is cooking at Chelsea, following the early successes of the Chelsea duo of Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma.
The two players have been Chelsea’s first-choice centre-back pairing this season and they’ve racked up clean sheet after clean sheet in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
Silva’s influence at Chelsea has been evident since he joined the Blues on a free transfer in the summer. Although he took a couple of weeks to settle, everyone is now seeing his impact on the team.
Chelsea signing Thiago Silva has influenced Zouma's performances
The Brazilian's leadership qualities have never been in doubt and it’s clear for everyone to see how he’s influenced the performances of his defensive partner Zouma. When Zouma spoke about playing alongside Silva in October, he was full of praise for the former PSG captain and was eager to learn from him.
"He’s [Thiago Silva] got great experience at the highest level, he’s won a lot of titles and last season he played in the Champions League final,” Zouma told Chelsea’s official website.
"For me, he’s got everything. He’s calm on the ball, he can defend very well, his positioning is great. I’m very happy he’s here and excited to learn from him," added Zouma.
After a few games in the new season, Zouma and Silva are establishing themselves as the best defensive duo in the Premier League. The pair have not conceded a goal in any of Chelsea’s last five games in all competitions.
Thiago’s introduction to English football may have started on a rough note when his mistake and lack of sharpness contributed to the team’s 3-3 draw with West Brom early in the season.
However, the Brazilian has since stepped up and the entire team is now benefitting from it. Ahead of Chelsea’s Premier League game against Sheffield United on Saturday, it is only fair to expect another impressive defensive showing from Zouma and Silva.
The duo, along with Reece James, Ben Chilwell and the impenetrable Edouard Mendy, have helped the Blues become clean sheet machines. Silva’s impact on the team's backing during this period cannot be discounted.
"I think Thiago can affect people around him. I think of his status in the game and the way he plays it,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said this week, as quoted by Goal.
"We talk about partnerships in the team. We can all think of great center-back partnerships. Thiago's quality rubs off not only on Kurt but any player he is paired with," added Lampard.
"I think he's helped Kurt and we now need to sustain that level of performance and keep the good run of clean sheets. He's certainly affecting the others."
With five consecutive clean sheets, there’s no doubt that Zouma and Silva are currently the Premier League's best defensive duo.Published 07 Nov 2020, 17:46 IST