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Super Bran: Why Ivanovic is Chelsea’s most important player

Ballache blogger Andrew Boulton goes all googly-eyed over Chelsea's Man of Steel Branislav Ivanovic. A top quality defender and attacker he can probably finish a Rubix cube without removing any of the stickers...

by Andrew Boulton | September 26, 2014

We play a jolly game in our house called ‘Ivanovic Wins’. It involves coming up with increasingly elaborate scenarios in which Branislav Ivanovic fights something. And wins. Ivanovic versus a polar bear with robot legs. Ivanovic wins. Ivanovic vs a massive fist made from crocodile faces. Ivanovic wins. Ivanovic vs an angry cloud filled with hot wee and spanners. Ivanovic, clearly, wins. Due to the inherently winning nature of Ivanovic, it quickly becomes a tiresome game.

But the days of the big Serb being regarded as little more than a terrifying beast of a man are gone. Over the past few seasons, and especially at the beginning of this one, he has emerged as Chelsea’s most reliable performer. Despite being built like a medium sized Asda, he is one of the most aggressively forward thinking full backs in the Premier League. And I doubt many of us would know what to do if an out-of-town supermarkets was moving swiftly in our direction.

And this, of course is from a player who began at full back by default. Naturally a centre half in stature, Ivanovic always seemed to find himself third choice behind John Terry and a succession of mixed ability partners. Nowadays, Ivanovic would probably have a decent claim for being the best centre half in Chelsea’s squad, and it is his brilliance at full back rather than his deficiencies in the middle that keep him in his current role.

BlueSteel

      But as if ferocious wing attacks and the kind of defensive solidity that could deflect a speeding ice cream van weren’t enough, he also has a remarkable eye for goal. And not just the typical bruiser-defender goals than cannon unknowingly off your face, neck or teeth. Ivanovic has shown this season already that he is an unsurprisingly brutal, yet unexpectedly technical finisher.

The Chelsea team is not short on mach winners. Diego Costa – despite nearly filling his pants with paella when Big Timmy Howard came rushing out to grab him by the gums – looks the kind of striker Chelsea have been missing. And Cesc Fabregas looks like Jose Mourinho has passed him a note before the start of the season that simply reads: ‘By the way, you’re actually really good.’

Bran Never Flakes

But for all their brilliance, and the collective excellence of Chelsea, it is hard to think of a player Chelsea could rely on more than Ivanovic. And in a season of small margins where, more than ever, we’re looking for teams with the fewest weaknesses, having a rampaging winger/impassable defender/accomplished finisher/monstrous hulk of a human being at right back is surely a signpost to success.

Fantasy football managers all over the country have gleefully stumped up the £7m plus for his services, even when that means having to stick in Lee ‘The Cat Mole’ Cattermole as your back up midfielder. And if he’s good enough for Jose, good enough for half a million fantasy football managers and good enough to fight a wizard that shoots eels and tiny cricket bats out of his eyes, then I think we can all agree. Ivanovic Wins.

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