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Branislav Ivanovic - Your Views?


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Interesting article from WAGHN:

 

 

Explaining Mourinho's love of Branislav Ivanovic

 

 

Azpilicueta is somewhat unlucky to miss out on game time this season as the new regime finds the Serbian a perfect tactical fit for the new system that is being deployed

 

 

An interesting feature of Jose Mourinho's return to Chelsea has been his fondness of Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian signed in the months following the manager's original departure in 2007 and although he didn't make his debut until eight months after he signed, he has since emerged into one of Chelsea's key players in the years that followed, first as a right-back - and impressively so under Carlo Ancelotti - but also proving a useful utility when switching into the centre.

It's quite remarkable to think back over the trajectory Ivanovic's career has taken since coming to Chelsea. There was that famous headed brace against Liverpool, the decisive goal in the Champions League tie against Napoli, last season's winner in the Europa League final as well as some outstanding defensive performances, including the Barcelona tie in 2012 where Ivanovic struck up an unorthodox centre-back partnership with Jose Bosingwa, yet a 10-man Chelsea still progressed to the final (which Ivanovic missed due to suspension).

Many expected him and Cesar Azpilicueta to rotate under the new tenure - but rather contrastingly, Ivanovic has played every minute (810) in the Premier League, with Azpilicueta's time (29 minutes) limited to a few substitute appearances. Granted, the Spaniard started in both Capital One Cup ties and in the Champions League against Schalke, but it is clear Ivanovic is firmly Mourinho's first choice in a position where many thought the competition was, at least, evenly balanced.

Granted, Azpilicueta's involvement at the Confederations Cup didn't help, but more significantly, the commentary for the Arsenal match mentioned Mourinho's specific praise of Azpilicueta's work ethic in the matchday programme. That backed the general feeling that this isn't so much an issue of meritocracy, but instead grounded in tactical issues.

There are, in essence, three reasons. Firstly is the fact that Ivanovic is, rather obviously, a decent full-back. There are flaws to his game, yes, but he makes powerful forward runs and back when Chelsea had a more physical number nine (Didier Drogba) he developed an unusual penchant for hitting accurate crosses with the inside of his right foot.

But while Azpilicueta might be technically better but Ivanovic is clearly far more physically gifted. That is reflected in the tally of headed goals that he scores (and the flick-on for Torres' first goal against Schalke is a relevant, recent example), as well as the contribution he makes towards defending set-pieces. Mourinho has always been keen to pack height into the side, especially in the Premier League - in great contrast to Rafa Benitez - and Ivanovic in that sense is ideal.

The aerial ability leads into the second reason. There's no need to quantify the fact Chelsea's crop of attackers are in essence a pack of midgets, which...isn't ideal for trying to win long balls. Granted Mourinho has not got Chelsea playing like Stoke and the majority of play stems from distribution through the defence but there will always be times when this is not an option.

In those instances we have seen Ivanovic move unusually high up the right side and Cech aim his goal-kicks towards him. It's a clever workaround to a small detail that might seem unnecessary but it was the passage of play that lead to Fernando Torres leaving Gael Clichy in his wake as he set up Andre Schurrle for the first goal against Manchester City.

Thirdly, as Graham has touched on before, Ivanovic is key to Mourinho's most frequent formation change this season - the three at the back Hail Mary when chasing games against weaker opposition. I'll quote him here:

Branislav Ivanovic is the man who allows this all to happen. His ability to play both centre back and right back (and it's not unreasonable to suggest that his ideal position might be as something in between) means that Chelsea can switch from a four-man back line to a three by withdrawing the left back from an attacking player, which is what Mourinho's done each time he's moved to 3-5-2.

As Graham explains further in that article, you can't really do this with the smaller, less physical Azpilicueta. The Spaniard might have scored his first Chelsea goal against Arsenal, but it's still highly unlikely he'll feature in the upcoming match against Newcastle, for the three reasons listed above. Newcastle are one of the more direct sides in the league and Ivanovic's heading should certainly prove useful. Furthermore, Newcastle will be one of the sides Mourinho expects to beat, so he'll certainly want to have the mid-game option of switching to the three-man defence up his sleeve in the event things don't pan out the way he expects.

There's certainly a debate to be had about who is the better right-back, but for the system Mourinho uses at Chelsea Ivanovic is, for now, clearly first-choice.

 

 

http://weaintgotnohistory.sbnation.com/2013/10/30/5045038/ivanovic-mourinho-analysis

 

 

 

Your views?

Edited by BelgradeCFC
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Top player, workaholic! as mentioned he's scored important goals over the years and he's a rock in defence! All 'round a top player and seems like a genuinely nice chap as well.

 

Definitely one of the key players over the years, someone you always feel comfortable seeing in the starting line-up. Obviously he's made cock ups defensively, but we all make mistakes... Even God has made a mistake, by creating spurs!  :slap_face:

Edited by January Blues
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he had a poor start to last season, and I think talk of a possible move to madrid affected his game. But he played well at centre half since the turn of the year, and the excitement of playing for mourinho has brought him back to his very best at full back.

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  • 2 weeks later...

                           Bran Ivanovic is one of the best defenders in Premiership football and is underrated at right back.

 

                           Despite being more defensive oriented he provides a key role in attack on the right.

 

                           He has been excellent working down the right flank with little defensive cover in front of him.

 

                           Although capable of playing centrally he is Mourinho"s best option in the right back role.

 

                           Bran is a future Chelsea legend.

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Love Ivan, but is nobody going to bring up the elephant in the room which is his horrific crossing that ends up breaking down most of our attacks?

 

1. Why is he crossing it so much when we have nobody really to cross to?

2. If he's actually going to cross it, he needs to stop booting it against the first defender!

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We can't really afford to carry passengers in attack. Cole and Ivanovic's inability to help their wide AMs in attack has seriously blunted us for years and is getting worse season by season. Every team we face invariably puts 8-9 men behind the ball so we need all hands on deck to break them down. Our attacking impotency leads to defensive weakness; a team that cannot create chances or score goals give their opposition more and more confidence in both their defense and attack. Ivanovic (and Cole)'s poor or pointless passing means that attacks break down and concede pressure to the other team.

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Great defender and good on the counter when running at the defence using his speed and strength. Not so good in a slow build up when receiving the ball to feet in acres if space - as is happening time and time again as opponents realise his limitations and back off. Not his fault merely a circumstance of current tactics and team selection.

Here's the plan:

Sack Jose - he's had long enough.

Put me in charge.

I reinstate Mata at 10 and tell him all he has to do is be our 10.

I thank Frank for everything ( maybe give him a blow job) and tell him he won't be playing quite so often.

I drop Oscar deeper and task him to transition our defence to attack more quickly.

Ivan and Cole keep their places and are encouraged to offer the overlap.

I am pilloried on this site and from the terraces and sacked before Christmas.

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Mentioned this elsewhere but it's probably more appropriate here;

 

People keep justifying Ivan's inclusion in the team by taking about how good he is at set pieces. That's all well and good but we actually have to take quality set pieces in order to take advantage of that and with Mata benched the chances of that happening have significantly declined. Not to mention most teams will have marked and dealt with baring lapses in concentration. 

 

Instead of having him waste passes and crosses for the majority of the game in the hope that he does something from a set piece, why not just play a proper RB in Dave. We wouldn't need to rely on Ivan's set piece prowess because Dave's crossing and passing would create more chances in 45 mins than Ivan would get from set pieces in a full 90. 

 

Recently another reason has been that it makes it easy for us to go 3 at the back when we are behind. This might just be me but I would rather we didn't set up our team based on being a goal or two behind, something that might not even occurred if we had proper fullbacks in the first place. If we are trailing then by all means bring on Ivan and switch to 3 at the back (Not that it seems to stop him going forward and crossing hopelessly, Mikel was effectively playing his CB role in the last game) but I wouldn't start with him. I get that this might mean we will probably be able to only bring on two attacking players at times rather than three that we sometimes get but I think that's a fair enough trade off for a more effective and fluid wing play on both sides, not just RB but LB with Bertrand as well.

Edited by Remodez
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He's solid as a rock, super defender. Very reliable and hardly ever gets caught out.

His best assets are obviously defending and attacking when at the end of set pieces...I think he crosses it so much (despite no one being in the box), as he isn't the type of player who can take a man on and beat him, nor is he the type of player to play a really defence splitting pass. Its either a cross or a safe pass back. We need a big target man who can get his head on the end of a ball.

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People keep justifying Ivan's inclusion in the team by taking about how good he is at set pieces. That's all well and good but we actually have to take quality set pieces in order to take advantage of that and with Mata benched the chances of that happening have significantly declined. Not to mention most teams will have marked and dealt with baring lapses in concentration. 

 

I think people possibly mean both offensive and defensive set pieces. 

 

Take away the two centre backs and who do we have in the team that is any good in the air? 

 

I'm not saying it justifies his inclusion but it could possibly be playing a part in Mourinho's selection of him.

 

Personally I think Dave deserves a run of games at Right Back, he's played every time he has been on the pitch this season even though he has mostly played out of position.

 

Maybe play Ivan at Left Back and tell him to stay back like Dave and Cole mostly have done when playing there and let Dave play in his natural position? 

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I don't recall Dave being great at crossing though so I'm not sure if he's going to be a lot better.

 

If we wanted out attacking threat to come from our fullbacks then we should be deploying Bertrand more and should've bought Seamus Coleman instead of Azpi or something. 

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I don't recall Dave being great at crossing though so I'm not sure if he's going to be a lot better.

 

If we wanted out attacking threat to come from our fullbacks then we should be deploying Bertrand more and should've bought Seamus Coleman instead of Azpi or something. 

 

I can remember one of his crosses for Torres header against Villa in the 8-0 win.Dave is no world beater going forward but he's still alot better than Ivan and Dave is a very good defender himself too.I can understand playing Ivan at right back in certain games for example our next game away to West Ham as we know the style of Allardyce teams.We have a good attacking right back anyway in Wallace just hope he can start playing at Inter and can develop, and get a work permit.

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  • 2 months later...



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