Ivanovic: Should Chelsea drop the big Serb against the smaller sides?

Ivanovic has been a regular at Right Back for Chelsea this season Among Chelsea fans, especially this season, there is a variety of opi...

Ivanovic has been a regular at Right Back for Chelsea this season
Among Chelsea fans, especially this season, there is a variety of opinions on Branislav Ivanovic and whether he should be starting regularly for Chelsea at Right Back. The main issue seems to be a limited ability whenever he gets into the attacking third, including poor decision making and an infinite amount of crosses that very rarely find their target. 

Ivanovic has been a match winner for Chelsea over the last few years, a Europa League winner in extra time in 2013, the winner at the Etihad last season and even more famously the double at Anfield near the beginning of his Chelsea career. He is a dependable and fierce competitor, with experience matched only by a handful of those that start each week for Chelsea. It begs the question why would any Chelsea fan want a player who brings so much to the team, defensively and by his mere presence, out of the starting eleven?

If Chelsea fans look back at both the Sunderland game and the Newcastle game, beside the individual errors and poor performances defensively of Ivanovic and Cahill, there is a stand out problem that has been a constant issue for Mourinho's new look Chelsea. Chelsea struggle to break down teams that park the bus. When an organised defence does decide to park the bus, the player that they allow time and space to receive the ball and cross is Ivanovic. Statistically, Ivanovic failed with all five of his attempted crosses against Newcastle, all of which were from good positions. Against Sunderland despite getting forward often enough, he only attempted two crosses, of which neither found their man. 

It may not be Ivanovic's job to create chances for the strikers, but when he is the player receiving the ball and being asked to pick someone out, there are far better options than the big Serb, and this is why the opposition give him time and space on the ball; he is the least threatening. 

The question remains, if Ivanovic doesn't fit into the new Chelsea mould, as many teams will park the bus this season against Chelsea pick him out as a weak link on the ball, who replaces the Serbian? Azpilicueta? The man that has recently received acclaim as the best left back in the Premier League and has struck up a fantastic partnership with John Terry in the left hand side of our defence. This would allow Filipe Luis his chance, who has shone offensively when given the opportunity this season, but hasn't been as solid defensively compared to what Azpilicueta brings to the Chelsea side. 

It would appear Mourinho has a headache. Against the smaller sides that will come to Stamford Bridge and park the bus, is it definitely necessary to have a full back who lacks passing ability and inventiveness in the final third? This could mean bringing Filipe Luis on and switching Azpilicueta to the right hand side. Or simply adding another attacker to play wide right, sacrificing four at the back but instructing a better crosser and passer of the ball like Willian, Oscar or even Schurrle to stay wide and get to the byline, beat a man and cause far more problems than a defensive minded Centre Back turned Right Back.

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