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BranislavIvanovic Could Be Diego Costa’s Replacement, Says Pat Nevin

Former Chelsea star Pat Nevin believes that Antonio Conte could improvise in order to find a replacement for striker Diego Costa when his team take on Bournemouth on Boxing Day.


Costa is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in the game against Crystal Palace last weekend. The Spanish international has been a major factor behind the club’s 11 match winning run in the Premier League. Even against Crystal Palace, he scored the only goal of the game in the 1-0 win. Costa will undoubtedly be a major miss, especially considering that summer signing MichyBatshuayi has not had much opportunities.

Batshuayi came from Marseille in a £33 million deal making him one of the expensive purchases for the club in the summer. However, he has not started a league match yet. Most of his appearances have come as a late substitute. In fact, he has made 10 league appearances this season but his entire game time on the pitch has not even been 90 minutes.

He has scored two goals in three appearances in the EFL Cup. There is still a lot of doubt ifBatshuayi would start against Bournemouth. If not, Nevin reckons that Conte could use the likes of defender BranislavIvanovic as an auxiliary striker.

"I will leave BranislavIvanovic out of this discussion as I have yet to find many who agree with me that he could be a perfectly good striker. His movement in the box from crosses is fantastic, his finishing is extremely good too and I suspect he might just be able to hold the ball up quite well also.When I say this to people they usually give me a funny look but although he is a 100/1 outsider, I would love to see it, though it might just crush Michy’s confidence if he was overlooked for Brana," said Nevin.