Thiago Silva hits out at team selection amid Chelsea vs Arsenal dilemma for Mauricio Pochettino
Given the international break that Chelsea have had Mauricio Pochettino would be justified in thinking that it’s good news to have Thiago Silva at Cobham for the past two weeks. The 39-year-old, unlike his fellow South American stars in the squad, will be fully rested come the 5.30pm kick-off against Arsenal on Saturday.
As has been the case for Pochettino already this season, Chelsea have struggled to make up for the fatigue and injuries to Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo following long journeys back from matches with their country. However, for the secondary time in a row, Pochettino will be able to call upon Silva without much worry.
As the oldest outfield player in the league currently and with the demand placed on him by his club as high as ever, Silva needs more looking after than most. He is already one of three players to play every minute of every game and looks set to be central to plans in defence when the Gunners come to town in two days’ time.
For Silva, though, this mini-break is not something that he has brought on himself. “I didn’t make any decision. Let’s make that very clear. I didn’t make any decision not to go to the national team,” he told ESPN Brazil. After 113 caps for his country Silva has now found himself missing out.
Since the World Cup last year, a tournament that he played a huge role in for Tite’s side, he has been left out of every squad since with interim manager Fernando Diniz not choosing to go with the experience and aged legs. Instead, it has been Eder Militao, Gabriel Magalhaes, Marquinhos and Gleison Bremer, fitness depending.
“It’s not my decision,” Silva hit back. “I’m always available when the CBF calls up. It’s already stated at the end of the line that it’s a call-up, you have to go. But so far I haven’t been told anything. I just haven’t been called for these recent opportunities. But if they think I’m able to help in this process, for sure I’ll do my best to help.
“But as long as that doesn’t happen, I’ll try to do my job in the best way possible here at Chelsea, playing in one of the most important leagues in the world and continuing this beautiful job I’ve been doing with Chelsea. Unfortunately, last year wasn’t so good, but I hope this year will be different.”
Despite playing a vital role on the pitch for Chelsea there is uncertainty over how Pochettino will line-up at the back against Mikel Arteta’s side around Silva. Reece James is in contention to return after missing most of the term so far with injury whilst Malo Gusto is coming back from suspension.
Levi Colwill can continue at left-back although many had been expecting to see more of the Silva-Colwill pairing in the early weeks of the season. Axel Disasi is likely to be his main teammate at right centre-back but it is the question of who takes the right-back role that is most unsure.
Silva, though, will be ready to do his role no matter what is next to him. Even if the non-selection from Brazil is frustrating, as it would be and appears to be, there is little doubt that Chelsea and Pochettino are the ones to really benefit in this situation with his legs saved.