Saturday saw the return of club football in Europe following the conclusion of the international break. With the UCL Quarter Finals beginning the following week, Europe’s elites in the competition were expected to put in a good shift in the league for a morale-boosting win ahead of the midweek games.
It looked to be as per this plan for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge against Brentford when Antonio Rudiger put the Blues ahead early in the second half through a wonderful long-range effort.
With Chelsea fans expecting their team to pull ahead with this early goal, Brentford surprised the Bridge faithful by levelling the score in just 3 minutes through Vitaly Janelt.
In the next 10 minutes, the German added another goal while Christian Eriksen scored his first club goal since his injury at the Euros to make it 3-1 to the visitors.
As Chelsea tried desperately to claw back the deficit, the Bees stung the European Champions once again in the 87th minute when Yoane Wissa smashed his effort inside a crowded Chelsea box after Rudiger and Thiago Silva failed to make a strong clearance.
It was a night to forget for Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel, with the latter coming under fire for the sudden change of formation for the game.
Chelsea’s best defensive displays have come when they have deployed a three-man backline and it has been their go-to formation under Tuchel. But Saturday’s back four caused much chaos for the Chelsea defence with centre-backs Rudiger and Thiago Silva having a tough time coping with the sudden lack of cover from the absence of a third centre-back.
Silva received much criticism for his performance against Brentford with commentators pointing out errors he made in the build-up of Janelt’s goals and Wissa’s 4th goal.
But the centre-back’s wife, Belle has quickly come to his aid and has criticized the commentators for the comments which she felt were unjust.
Belle Silva asked critics to take into account that the Brazilian was 37 years old playing in the PL and had just returned to England from international duty for Brazil.
“Respect Thiago Silva…he just played for Brazil…he is very tired, he is 37 years old…so, respect him. He is not a machine, he needs to relax,” stated Belle on her Instagram account.
Needless to say, Chelsea fans loved every bit of her rant –
Fatigue could very well have caused a dip in form for Silva alongside Tuchel’s change in formation. Silva was seen out of position for both of Janelt’s goals which led to 2v2 situations in Chelsea’s box.
There would be no immediate concern for Chelsea as they continue to sit 3rd on the table and would not be eclipsed by Arsenal even if the Gunners win their game in hand.
But the defeat would have surely rung alarm bells as Stamford Bridge as they must now prepare to welcome Real Madrid in their mid-week Champions League clash.
Fans would surely be hoping that Tuchel reverts back to the back-three for this crunch tie and that their defence too would be back to their best.