The captain Thiago Silva is back! We had wondered where the talismanic Brazilian who has been labelled the ‘world’s best defender’ for so many years had got to. And by his own admission, he thinks he is better now, then when he first arrived in Paris. It is certainly a bold claim but is he right?
“I think that I am better now than when I first arrived in Paris. I have progressed but I don’t play alone. The team is strong”.
Those were the words from the skipper after the 3-1 win over Toulouse last Saturday. It was another imperious performance from the 30-year-old and he also managed to get on the scoresheet. His admission though is very interesting. Silva is someone who wears his heart on his sleeve, always has done. So he would not have said this on a whim – he genuinely believes it.
For me, I think back to the Thiago Silva in his debut campaign where he was absolutely outstanding for Paris Saint-Germain. As focal as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was up top, Silva possessed that same calibre in his area. We cannot forget that debut of his against Dynamo Kiev in a 4-1 rout which consisted of some of the best football played under former coach Carlo Ancelotti. Silva made it 2-0 on the night thanks to an assist by former centre-back Alex as the two would go on to form a solid partnership in a title winning season.
2012/13 is the Silva that was at the peak of his power for me but his performances of late are certainly reminiscent of those days. The composure and authority is back in his game. No more jitters, just pure defensive elegance. This is Thiago Silva at his very best.
It was only six weeks ago where he was having questions asked of him. Poor performances against Barcelona, Guingamp and Bastia showed some evident flaws. Not just from him, the team as a whole. But being one of the marquee figures in that dressing room, he was getting much of the criticism.
But since the Coupe de la Ligue win over Saint-Etienne, the tide has turned. 11 straight games without defeat, eight entailing victories, everything is pretty rosy in the garden at the moment. So how has the captain’s league form been then?
Well, in the six games since defeat in Corsica his defensive duties have been impeccable. Out of his 23 tackles, 70% have been successful. He has not committed a single foul, endured six and completed 23 out of 25 headed duels which is a success rate of 92%. In other defensive actions he has made 16 interceptions, 48 clearances and three blocks.
With the ball at his feet he has accumulated a passing accuracy of 92%. 310 passes out of 322 have been on point! It emphasises his credentials as a ball playing centre-back.
The stats make impressive reading and you can see why the player himself is at total ease with his performances. Four of the games he has been partnered with David Luiz and the other two Marquinhos. The display in the Champions League tie with Chelsea demonstrated the possibility to partner TS with Marquinhos and usher Luiz into midfield for the long-term. But, whoever partners the captain these days is playing alongside a defender who has rediscovered his form.
Statistics courtesy of Squawka.com