Chelsea boss sweats on fitness of key defender ahead of Manchester United clash

BY PAUL LAGAN
paul@slpmedia.co.uk

Frank Lampard is sweating on the fitness of centre-back Thiago Silva ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The 36-year-old Brazilian played the whole 90 minutes against Sevilla on Tuesday evening as the Blues got their Champions League group campaign under way with a creditable 0-0 draw.

But Silva has a hip injury which caused him discomfort against the Spanish outfit, and Lampard will have to make a call whether to risk playing him and potentially losing his talismanic defender for the next Champions League match, away to FK Krasnodar on Wednesday.

The Russian side earned a point in their 1-1 draw in their opening fixture away to French side Rennes.

Manchester United thrashed the Blues 4-0 in the corresponding fixture last season – it was a template for much of the Blues performances since – attractive attacking play, but terrible defending and costly errors.

That’s why Silva was brought into the club, after his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.

His calmness and leadership qualities have already impressed his team-mates and fans will hope that the Blues have finally turned the corner on their defensive frailties.

They were still in evidence at the weekend, when Chelsea let slip a 2-0 and 3-2 lead against Southampton to only come away from Stamford Bridge with a point in a 3-3 draw.

Petr Cech has come out of retirement and is available to play for Chelsea once more in the Premier League – if required.

The 38-year-old long retired from football after leaving Arsenal to return to the Bridge as technical adviser last year. Cech will be an non-contracted player and will act as an emergency goalkeeper.

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech in the stands

The Blues were required to submit their 25-man squad for the remainder of the season on Tuesday.

Head coach Frank Lampard suggested Cech’s involvement is a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said: “Pete’s been training with the goalkeepers for a little while now, I think that was pretty much common knowledge, which is invaluable for their experience. It helps with their training and it helps me to know that he is passing on that quality and experience to the goalkeepers.

“We had a space in the squad, we know this year looks like no other because of Covid and what it might do to selection and isolation through the year, so it was a very easy decision.

“He is very fit, he is still relatively young, he probably could have carried on playing.

“Whether we will see him playing much this season I am not sure. It depends on how the season goes and on Covid and isolation, but I certainly felt it was a no-brainer to have Pete in the squad for that reason. It can only help the goalkeepers we have to see one of the world’s best in the modern era among us.”

Chelsea Women won’t be back in domestic action until November 3, when they face Tottenham in a Conti Cup group match at Kingsmeadow.

Last weekend’s WSL match away to Aston Villa was postponed as two Villa players tested positive for Covid-19.


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