Pundit Paul Merson believes Chelsea should consider changing to using three at the back to get the best out of their current crop of centre-backs.
The Blues have struggled for some time now with defensive issues, and things don’t seem to have improved over the summer, despite the arrival of the highly experienced Thiago Silva.
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The Brazilian had a shaky Premier League debut in Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with West Brom, with ex-Blue Alan Hudson giving a damning assessment of his performance to CaughtOffside.
Merson has also raised concerns about Silva, writing in his column in the Daily Star that the 36-year-old won’t have been tested like this during his time in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain.
Merson also feels Chelsea could find some joy by playing with more of their central defensive options than they have been, partly because it would also ease the pressure on Silva in that area of the pitch.
“Frank Lampard needs to change his tactics or Chelsea can kiss goodbye to Antonio Rudiger,” Merson said.
“Chelsea have got five centre-backs and that’s too many unless you’re playing three every week – and I think that’s what Lampard should do.
“At the moment he’s playing a back four and someone is always going to miss out. Right now it’s Rudiger, which surprises me.
“I thought Kurt Zouma or Andreas Christensen would go this summer because Rudiger is better than both of them.”
He added: “If Lampard switches to three at the back with wing-backs, he solves the problem and gets the best out of Thiago Silva, who won’t be so exposed in that system.
“I’ve always been a big fan of Thiago Silva and signing him on a free was a no brainer. But at PSG he only had to exert himself four or five times a season.
“In the Premier League, it’s relentless. He needs to play in the centre of a three for me. And playing that way means Rudiger stays.”