Thiago Silva: PSG Report Card for the Star Defender
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While Silva is not as big of a magnet for the spotlight as the Swedish striker, the expectation level is just as high. Silva was brought to Paris to solve the biggest perceived weakness on the PSG squad.
With all that in mind, let's take a look at how Silva's performance for PSG has graded at the halfway point of the season.
Thiago Silva did not have the luxury of getting to know his new team in their preseason due to his involvement with the Brazilian Olympic team. After the Olympics, PSG gave Silva a break to recharge before joining the club.
Silva finally made his much anticipated Ligue 1 debut for PSG against Bastia in week 6 of the season. While it took some time for Silva to become acquainted with his new mates, his qualities have been easy to see.
Silva came to PSG with a reputation as one of the top center-backs in the world. The rough patches in his early performances with PSG were the result of two things.
First, was a lack of familiarity among his backline partners. The unfamiliarity led to confusion in marking assignments, and positioning that led to chances conceded.
The second was the more physical nature of the Ligue 1 attackers then Silva had expected.
Silva himself admitted recently that Ligue 1 was more physical and difficult then he thought it would be. He was quoted on Bettor.com as saying the following:
"I thought this championship (Ligue 1) would be easier and it surprises me more and more each time. I have played poorly in some games, thinking it would be easy, but the attackers are very strong and they put me in trouble in defence because I'm not a very physical player. It is difficult for me to mark this type of player. The Italian championship is much more based on tactics."
Even with the adjustment period required, Silva's leadership has been there from the start. His qualities on the pitch as an extension of the coaching staff have been very noticeable.
It is no surprise that PSG's recent run of good form has coincided with Silva putting in his best string of performances for PSG.
A perfect example was his play leading to the only goal of the Lyon match. Silva used a perfectly timed challenge to win the ball in a vulnerable position for PSG. He then quickly pushed the ball forward into the attack.
The resulting counter led to Matuidi's goal, turning a tense game into a PSG win.
Overall, I would give Silva an overall grade of seven out of 10. The main reason for a slightly above average score is his early struggles in Paris, coupled with the high expectations. If the score was solely based on the last four weeks, that grade would be a nine.
With PSG heading into the winter break in the top spot of Ligue 1, I fully expect Silva to continue to demonstrate why he is one of the world's best defenders over the second half of the season. It has not been a bad first half for Silva by any means, but a player of his caliber has much required of them.
Now that he has settled himself into life in Ligue 1 and Paris, the remainder of the season will remind the world why PSG paid the high price to obtain his services.
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