Friday, March 31, 2023

Chelsea’s Biggest Defensive Let Down Last Season Has Been On Fire Under Conte

Must Read
Prasoon Sur
Prasoon is a law student who lives in the North East of India. Wildly innovative, football is more than a passion for him.

Last year, when José Mourinho’s third season syndrome came back to haunt him once again, a lot of senior players took some flak. More than anyone else, it was Branislav Ivanović who was made the scapegoat more often than not throughout the season for Chelsea’s repetitive defensive blunders. With no encouragement or lift from the fans dampens the morale of a player and worsens the chances of reinvigoration, something the Serbian defender could barely deal with last season and no wonder why his statistics kept deteriorating terribly under the Portuguese. In a season full of mediocrity and sub-standard performances, Ivanović didn’t beg to differ.

When a new regime under Antonio Conte was announced, the future of Ivanović seemed hanging in the balance. However, prior to that, Guus Hiddink infused some revitalising spirits back into him and stating that Ivanović didn’t put his reliability on the tray at the back end of last season would be a completely prejudiced statement. Despite that, fingers were raised and questions were raised regarding the tenacity of the 32-year-old but the dearth of personnel on the right-back slot implied that it would have been foolish to let go an experienced stalwart who had accumulated a wealth of experience and recognition at Chelsea and was once described as a ‘competitive animal’ by Mourinho.

Interestingly, Conte’s has stuck with the defence of last season and it has yielded three wins on the trot in the fresh edition of the ever intriguing Premier League. So far, so good, Branislav Ivanović looks like a mission to prove a point a rediscover his former self under the Italian. Wins over West Ham United, Watford and Burnley have given a bulldozing start to the Pensioners and most importantly, Ivanović has been silently meeting his yardsticks with sheer perfection. His statistics, however, do the talking.

Ivanovic’s stats

In the three league games, the Blues’ full-back has made 5 interceptions, 10 clearances, 1 block and has won 4 tackles. He has been impenetrable on the right back and hasn’t shied away from making monstrous runs down the wings to form a formidable partnership with Willian on the right. Ivanović imposes himself as a healthy option for Willian to vehemently use the short passes and allows the likes of Oscar or Eden Hazard to chip in and queue up in the vicinity of the penalty box. With the passage of the season, we are likely to be much more accustomed with his crosses which are unarguably one of the most potent weapons in his armoury which can cater to Diego Costa’s need adequately.

With Ivanović comes the option to hold onto the ball and constantly be a threatening force in the final third. The level of commitment Ivanović has shown while tracking back has been exceptionally commendable, and he has not refrained from making vital physical challenges time and again. Throwing himself in the motion of the ball to ensure Thibaut Courtois is undisturbed and being a serial energetic input while making those darting runs give a perfect reminiscent of a modern-day full-back has made the football fraternity reconsider their thoughts of considering the Serbian skipper as an obsolete material.

It is indeed a testing season for the London side, so as for Ivanović who has to prove his mettle and consistency more than anything else and the initial days have been quite relishing. Although they are mere baby steps in the long Premier League season, the defender has shown his calibre so far and has underlined the view that he can once again be a galvanising force for the former league champions in their quest to reclaim the lost glory.

Statistics Credits: Squawka

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Follow Our Tweets On Twitter

Latest News

Humza Yousaf Lies When He Blames UK Government For Lack Of Scotland Games For Free

Scotland's First Minister Humza Yousaf was not being truthful when he blamed the UK Government for the lack of...

More Articles Like This