The inclusion of Branislav Ivanovic on the Chelsea team sheet that started and lost to Porto Tuesday night caused disappointment and frustration among many Chelsea fans. The Serbian right-back, who has been in a disastrous form since the beginning of the season, was expected to be dropped for the mid-week Champions League clash, and understandably so.
After the hard-fought draw against Newcastle United, manager Jose Mourinho said that none of his Chelsea stars are ‘untouchable’, even suggesting that he might be inclined to play ‘the kids’ if his players don’t improve. Thus, it is fairly plausible that fans expected a squad overhaul for the midweek game. Notable underperforming players like Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic started the match on the bench. Skipper John Terry, who was expected to start the game after another unconvincing display by Chelsea’s defense at St. James Park at the weekend was also a substitute.
Unfortunately for Mourinho, his faith in playing Ivanovic backfired yet again. Another horrid performance as evident by his fault for the first goal was supplemented by astounding statistics. Ten misplaced passes, just a single successful tackle and not one accurate cross made by the right back. Just like Montero, Naismith, Sterling and Bolasie, Porto’s Algerian winger Yacine Brahimi run the show coming against the Serbian. Unfortunately for Chelsea, who play Southampton next, every team seems to know their weakest link and whomever is playing on the left wing for Saints, will relish the opportunity.
Mourinho is often lauded as being a dynamic manager, never afraid to make changes when necessary. Yet, him sticking with Ivanovic after a series of horrendous performances is very much a mystery and utterly puzzling for fans. I hope he realizes it too, the first step in fixing his leaky defense is dropping the big Serb to the substitutes bench.
Written By: Andreas Teferra
Andreas is a 24 year old avid football writer from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He’s particularly interested in English football
Follow Andreas on Twitter @AndreasTeferra