While Graham Potter prepares his side for club football after the international break, all eyes are currently on the showcase in Qatar. There have been several Blues who have impressed in the World Cup group stage – here is a look at three of our standout performers.
Thiago Silva (Brazil)
It will be unsurprising for Chelsea fans around the world to see Thiago Silva top of this list. The veteran centre-back was a shining light in an otherwise dim spell for the Blues right before the break, which saw Graham Potter fail to win in his last five league outings. Now playing for one of the tournament favourites in FIFA World Cup bets – with Brazil boasting odds of 13/5 to go on and win it – Silva has replicated his club form at the international level.
If the 38-year-old is able to play the full 90 as he did against Serbia in Brazil’s opener, he is likely to be featured in pundits’ World Cup tips for the team of the tournament. It was a typical imperious display from Silva, who was just as effective in the air as he was with the ball at his feet. Blues fans will be hoping he can end the tournament unscathed as he is set to be the foundation around which Chelsea’s defence is built.
Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)
From one Chelsea defender to another, Kalidou Koulibaly stepped up to take the armband from the injured Sadio Mane. Playing in his second World Cup after Senegal’s group stage exit in Russia in 2018, the 31-year-old has added vital experience to his nation in the absence of their captain and star player. Forming a resolute pairing with Abdou Diallo at the back, Koulibaly has given a stellar review of himself on the world’s grandest stage.
Chelsea fans will be hoping the big centre-back will be able to translate this form into a Blues defence that has shipped goals of late. Potter’s side hasn’t kept a clean sheet since mid-October in a 0-0 draw with Brentford, a period where Koulibaly has started all but one of those matches. Alongside Thiago Silva, the duo should be able to build a strong partnership long into the business end of the season.
— Koulibaly Kalidou (@kkoulibaly26) November 25, 2022
Hakim Ziyech (Morocco)
Going into the tournament, many Blues fans may have been surprised to see Ziyech on this list. The winger was out of favour under Thomas Tuchel and even more so since the arrival of Graham Potter in September. As a result, the 29-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Bridge, with Milan being mooted as a potential destination. In Qatar, though, it has been a different story entirely.
Ziyech has dazzled in a Morocco side that got off to a slow start in Group F but burst into life in their second match against Belgium. Despite them being heavy underdogs, the Atlas Lions overcame FIFA’s second-ranked men’s team, with Ziyech seeing a goal disallowed in the first half before assisting his side’s second. The winger was awarded Player of the Match thanks to the display, which will leave Potter scratching his head as to whether to keep him or not, when it comes to the January window.
Never doubt Hakim Ziyech’s class 🥶 pic.twitter.com/rTgZatB4SU
— GOAL (@goal) November 27, 2022
Thanks to Chelsea boasting so many big-name players, there have been many other standout performances across the course of the tournament. With the Blues sitting in eighth at the turn of the international break, Potter will be hoping these displays can be reciprocated in the Premier League, as we continue our chase towards the Champions League places.
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