Chelsea Faces Defensive Crisis After Branislav Ivanovic Injury

Saura BhattacharjeeAnalyst IMarch 23, 2010

Latest scans have confirmed that Chelsea's Serbian centre-back Branislav Ivanovic has a torn right medial knee ligament after the clash against Diouf in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers. It means that the impressive centre-back will be out of action for at least a month.

The 26-year-old Ivanovic's injury will increase further manager Carlo Ancelotti's worries. Chelsea already have a long list of injured defenders. Bosingwa has been ruled out for the rest of the season and Ashley Cole is at least seven weeks away from first team return. The latest injury will surely affect Chelsea's challenge for the title as the season nears it's end.

Ivanovic has played an important role in Chelsea's impressive defensive record this season. He has filled in the place for the injured Bosingwa and has been a regular in Ancelotti's plans since then. He has made 24 appearances out of Chelsea's 30 league games this season.

Ivanovic was injured just before half time when Rovers' striker Diouf's legs got tangled between his legs and Diouf accidentally stepped over Ivanovic's right knee. Ivanovic limped out of the field and was replaced by Zhirkov after he failed to return back from the sidelines.

Another injury to Chelsea's already growing list of injuries at such a critical time of the season will surely be disheartening for the Blues' and their fans.

The Serbian has been in superb form this season. Given his physical strength and impressive defensive skills he has been instrumental in Chelsea's best defensive record in recent times. Paulo Ferreira or Yuri Zhirkov are likely to fill in his place for the match at Fratton Park.

Nobody can undermine the fact that Ivanovic's absence will weaken Chelsea's defense. Chelsea are set to play Aston Villa(once in the EPL and again in the semifinal of the FA Cup), Manchester United in the next few weeks, and the injury to his regular in form centre-back will be a cause of worry for Ancelotti.

After the 1-1 draw with Rover's on Sunday which saw Chelsea go four points adrift from league leaders United, the Blues' will be under immense pressure. They need to win their next fixtures against Pompey, Villa (twice), and United to keep alive their hopes of a "Double."

Ivanovic's injury was not something they would have wanted at such a point. Although Ferreira and Zhirkov are impressive players but Ivanovic's absence will be felt throughout Chelsea's defense.

The Blues' can only hope for a speedy recovery of their Serbian centre back and wish that none of their remaining defenders get injured in the meantime. Any fresh injuries now will throw Chelsea's title hopes to complete disarray.

Among the gloomy atmosphere at Stamford Bridge there is a good news also. Chelsea's injured keeper Petr Cech will be hopefully fit for the encounter at Fratton Park on Wednesday. Cech's return will surely provide a boost to the crestfallen Blues', who will be looking to put behind last week's disappointment by getting back to winning ways.