CONSTANT FIXTURE

Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic has been a constant fixture at the right back for Chelsea this campaign. His performances have been far superior to that of any player in the backline and it has cost Jose Mourinho to field Azpilicueta as the left back.

The Spaniard has even been able to dislodge the default left back at the club – Ashley Cole. Ivanovic has been playing in every match he was fit. The Serbian has also repaid the faith shown by Mourinho by scoring some important goals with the most recent one coming against Manchester city in the league.

Ivanovic Believes

Branislav Ivanovic has been in top form for Chelsea this season and in the last two away matches he has been just sublime. His important goal in the match against Manchester City which took them to the top of the table was hailed by Mourinho and the fans and the late equalizer by West Bromwich Albion stole the chances of Chelsea getting a 4 point gap between them and Arsenal who were also held back by the defending champions Manchester United in a goalless draw.

INJURED AGAIN

Branislav Ivanovic and Frank Lampard both sustained injuries during Chelsea’s match against Liverpool as they played in December of last year and according to injury updates from Jose Mourinho, the English midfielder might just be able to make his recovery in time for their upcoming match against Manchester United but Ivanovic is not likely to make it.

“Lampard is training all week with the team so normally yes. Ivanovic has not had one training session. He will today but I don’t think he can play’’. Mourinho stated.

Lampard suffered from a muscular problem while Ivanovic picked up a knee injury and both are regular starters for Mourinho but even with their absence, Chelsea has managed to deal well without their 2 key performers.

CLOSE THE GAP

Branislav Ivanovic is confident that this is the best time for Chelsea to close the gap between themselves and the leaders of the Premier League, Arsenal who are only 4 points ahead of them.

Chelsea took an early scare when playing against Southampton in their hometown Stamford Bridge as the visiting team scored within the opening 14 seconds of the match but the team of Jose Mourinho responded in the 2nd half with Gary Cahill, John Terry and Demba all scoring as they earned all 3 vital points.

GREAT START

With a transfer fee believed to be around of £9.7 million, the Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic signed with the English club Chelsea on 15th of January 2008.

Although surprisingly enough he did not make any appearances in that season as the coach club Avram Grant stated that he lacked fitness to actually play.

Avram Grant’s contract reached its end in 2008 and despite the success he enjoyed with Chelsea, no extension was made and he was replaced by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Even with the introduction of a new coach Branislav Ivanovic could barely find any playing time with Chelsea besides a few appearances made as a substitute in the Premier League and League Cup matches. At one point Unibet were offering a betting market on him leaving Chelsea in the next transfer window.

BRUYNE MOVING ON

The Chelsea midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne, might make a move away from Stamford Bridge during the mid-season transfer window. His agent, Patrick de Koster, has hinted that.

De Bruyne is currently practicing with U-21 team of Chelsea. He has been made to do that after his poor outing in the Capital One Cup game against Swindon Town.

The new Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, had shown some faith in de Bruyne at the start of the ongoing season and had given him starting opportunities in the first couple of Premier League games, but, the Belgian winger couldn’t stand up to the manager’s expectations and lost his place in the starting line up.

Branislav Ivanovic keen to remain at Chelsea

Cash rich Paris Saint Germain have made it no secret their desire to bring Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic to France ahead of the new season and are reportedly ready to make an £ 8million bid for the Serbian international but according to sources close to the player, the utility defender wants to stay at Stamford Bridge.

The 29 year old is adept at playing both at right back as well as the centre of the defense and new Paris Saint Germain manager Laurent Blanc wants to bring him in as a cover for Gregory van der Wiel but the Serbian is keen to commit his future with the London club and sign a contract extension. Ivanovic was one of the stand out performers for the Blues in their almost disastrous campaign under Rafael Benitez last term and is a threat from set pieces as well.

Football themed games

The football season is over for this year and for football fans the end of season can be frustrating once any initial joy or sadness wears off, and this is where a football themed slots game like Soccer Safari can provide the ultimate distraction.

Soccer Safari is a slots game with a distinctly summer feel to it, thanks to the World Cup theme (originally created as part of the last World Cup), centring on animals playing in their own tournament deep in the jungles of Africa. The likes of cheetahs, buffalo, warthogs, lions and rhinos are all wonderfully brought to life by the video graphics, and the action provided at the beginning, is really enjoyable to watch before you get to the game itself.

TOUGH MATCH

The skipper of the Serbia national football team, Branislav Ivanovic, has said that the upcoming match against Scotland is going to be tougher than the match against Croatia.

Serbia was beaten by Croatia in a world qualifying match played at Zagreb on Wednesday. Croatia had won that match by 2-0.

The Serbian media had used very strong words for the team after the defeat against Croatia. The fans are also not happy with their team’s outing against the arch rivals Croatia.

The match between Serbia and Scotland will be played on the home ground of Serbia. So, there will be more pressure on the Serbian team in that match.

Talking to the reporters ahead of the match, Ivanovic admitted that his team is under pressure. The Serbian skipper said, “This will be a big pressure game for us. We will be playing in front of our home crowd which is disappointed with us. The media is also unhappy. We have our backs against the wall.”

“This is a test of temperament for us. We need to put all the criticism out of our head and should just concentrate on the game.”

“We are arch rivals with Croatia and the supporters expect us to win every match against them. But, the fans should also keep in mind that the team is going through a rebuilding phase and we will lose a few matches. They must remain patient.”

When asked about the Scotland team, Ivanovic said, “Scotland is a very good team. They haven’t played that well in the world cup qualifiers so far. But, personally I think that they will be very hard to beat.”

The good news for Serbia before this match is that Marko Scepovic has completely recovered from the hip injury that he had discovered in the match against Croatia. Scepovic was on the ground for only 9 minutes in the match against Croatia.

Reading vs. Chelsea Preview

Wednesday evening’s game at the Madejski stadium sees second from bottom Reading host a Chelsea side looking to further cement their place in the top four of the Premier League.

Despite their lowly position, the Royals have lost just one of their last five in the league, and go in to this game on having beaten Sheffield United 4-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Brian McDermott will be without the injured Jason Roberts, while fellow striker Noel Hunt faces a late fitness test having picked up a knock at the weekend. New signing Daniel Carrico is also unlikely to feature.

Top scorer Adam Le Fondre is 11.0 (10/1) to open the scoring, though with his last five league appearances coming a substitute late on, you may prefer to back him to score the last goal of the game at the same price.

Reading are generously priced at 7.5 (13/2) to get the three points, with Chelsea widely available at 1.5 (1/2). The draw is 4.5 (9/2) with a variety of firms.

The visitors go in to the game having been held to a 2-2 draw by League One Brentford in their FA Cup fourth round tie on Sunday.

Away from the cup, they beat Arsenal 2-1 at Stamford Bridge the previous weekend, and have won their last four games on the road.

Goalkepper Peter Cech and defender David Luiz are injury doubts for Rafael Benitez, while Eden Hazard serves the second of a three-match ban.

Demba Ba is 5.25 (17/4) with Bet Victor to strike first, with Fernando Torres, who netted the equaliser at Griffin Park at the weekend, a 6.0 (5/1) shot with Ladbrokes.

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