Branislav Ivanovic has been quite vocal about all things Chelsea over the past few months and has been talking up his team-mate Demba Ba as potentially being a central figure in the fight for silverware.
The Serbian defender recently spoke about how he believes that this season represents the Blues’ best chance of claiming Premier League glory since 2010, when they won the double under Carlo Ancelotti, and believes Ba’s physicality provides Chelsea with an important dimension.
Ivanovic was quoted in the Mirror:
“Demba is the closest striker we have to Didier Drogba.
“He shows every minute he’s on the pitch that he tries to fight and is a physical striker. We will use him a lot in December and January.
”He’s very important to us – a guy that can keep the ball up front.”
It is perhaps an odd claim to make seeing as the 28-year-old forward has only made two Premier League starts so far this season and made his other three from the bench but he did help change the game against Southampton at the weekend when he replaced Michael Essien after the break.
He scored the third Chelsea goal in a 3-1 win and helped secure the points for Jose Mourinho’s side, so there’s a good argument for him to start at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night despite both Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres being available because of the physical aspect that he provides.
I don’t believe that Ba – who has only eight Chelsea goals to his name – has a long term future at Chelsea and we couldn’t say with 100% certainty that he will even be at Stamford Bridge by the time the January transfer window shuts but if Mourinho does have plans for him then he may well play a role as Ivanovic suggested. The Portuguese manager has a habit of getting players to perform above their level and has made good use of fringe player in the past – even if it is only in the short term.
Ba can be pleased with the performance he had against Southampton and has arguably won himself another opportunity. He gave defenders a headache on Sunday – a defence that had only conceded seven away from home in the league before they visited Stamford Bridge – and marked his display with a goal.