You can imagine that Branislav Ivanovic’s name pops up whenever the coaches give pep talks to youth players & first team fringe players, not only to talk about his professionalism and undoubted ability to defend, but also to make a case for patience. The Serbian skipper famously took 8 months to make his Chelsea bow due to a mixture of surmountable reasons but when he got the chance, he took it well.
Many fans still have memories of his headers against Liverpool, which hastened his elevation to something of a cult hero and his recent goal in the Europa League final against Benfica, which ensured the 2013/2014 wasn’t a stark antithesis of the preceding season.
However, its his form this season that is inexplicably going unheralded by the football nation. The ‘man bear’ as fondly referred to by Stamford Bridge faithful has elevated himself to an elite level player.
He has played in 22 games this season and bar the match against United where his visceral side showed as he got sent off (albeit with generous help from Di Maria!), he has been in startling form especially against Arsenal where he canned the brilliant Alexis Sanchez for the entire match.
According to Squawka.com, he has made 36 tackles, 17 interceptions, 75 clearances and 1 block in just 16 BPL matches. He is almost certainly going to be in the Premier League XI at the season because at the moment, Ivanovic is peerless.