Travelling back with yet another win and with Man City dropping more points, Chelsea have wholly imposed themselves in one of the remaining 14 “games that matter” in the Barclays Premier League.
The Blues took an early lead; with Hazard at his most influential in just the 7th minute. Villa, however, equalised in the early stages of the second half; which happened to be their first goal in 11 hours of PL football. Chelsea were rewarded for their perseverance in trying to get behind the Villa defence in the 66th minute, with Ivanovic netting a perfectly volleyed goal with his weaker foot.
Although with a few moments of concern in the last 20 odd minutes, The Blues managed to keep the lead and take away all 3 points at Villa Park.
In a game that saw 8 fouls made by Villa as opposed to 7 by Chelsea, the Serbian Branislav Ivanovic was undeniably the best-looking Chelsea player on the field. His crunching tackles, clearances and movement along the right flank was amazing to watch. Here is analysing the man’s game.
THE VERSATILE FULLBACK
The Serbian plays at the right-back position for The Blues on paper, but when it comes to him adapting various positions on the field, he also backs up his movement with some solid performances. Winning tackles, aerial duels, interceptions and clearances are attributes that define the defensive skill of the 30-year-old, but he also does brilliantly speeding forward – past Willian (who, as a response, moves into a more central-attacking part of the field) and delivering low, deadly crosses into the box for the Chelsea forwards to capitalise on.
THE MASTERFUL WEAK-FOOT-VOLLEY-TAKER
Remember that Ivanovic goal against City last season? It had come off the Serbian’s left foot (his weaker foot) outside the box – a low, blazingly fast strike into the bottom-left corner of the net. It was a half-volley back then, and yesterday, Ivanovic scored from a full-volleyed shot (again, with his weaker foot) that carried itself into the mid-left portion of the back of the net. His perfectly placed strike was no match for Guzan. Sheer class. What’s more – he pulled it off when there were 3 Villa players right in front of him, after having received a pass from his fellow fullback Azpilicueta. That’s right – a left fullback assisted a right one. Welcome to Chelsea Football Club.
THE BEST RIGHT-BACK IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
The stats don’t lie: Branislav Ivanovic has won 52 tackles, made 25 interceptions 102 clearances and has won a whopping 71 aerial duels – all in this season in the Premier League alone. He is playing some unbelievable football at the moment. His ways of moving about the whole of the right side of the pitch, rarely giving away the ball and delivering pacey balls into the box pinpoint how important he is for Chelsea as an attacking fullback. The stats mentioned above show how good he has been in defence as well.
These key attributes lead us to believe that he is the best right-back in the PL at this moment in time.
Stats and key figures (in yesterday’s game):
– Ivanovic finished the game with an amazing 94% pass accuracy
– He made 3 successful tackles and cleared the ball thrice from threatening situations
– Ivanovic marked his 300th appearance in a Chelsea shirt, and his crucial goal scored only highlighted the event and added to his current goal tally of 4 this season.
BRANISLAV IVANOVIC: GHJB’S BEST CHELSEA PLAYER AGAINST ASTON VILLA
Mourinho told Sky Sports:
“He has a beautiful history at Chelsea. He was not in the Chelsea that started winning titles in 2004, 2005, 2006, but he came immediately after that, and he’s part of Chelsea’s last decade.
He’s scored so many important goals, and for a defender that is even more special.”
He’s done it again: Ivanovic has scored a crucial goal yet again for Chelsea. He is Mr. Consistency when it comes to giving out solid, all-round performances that earn victories for The Blues. He has always been of utmost importance to Chelsea’s starting lineup, and the stats just show how good he is whenever he appears for Chelsea.
We have come a long way this season: some hard-earned victories followed by some more. Every “small” team in the world seems to up the ante; raise their game to the highest level possible and make life difficult for us. But we have stayed strong and dealt with all of them (well, most of them) and have retained our place in the pole position of the EPL table.
With 14 games to go, Chelsea will have to be more consistent than ever, if we were to avoid the possible late dramas involving Man City to come closer to taking the title home. We won’t let them have it this time – that’s for sure!
Next stop: Everton at The Bridge.
That’s it for now! KTBFFH!
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Edited By: Harshal