LOOKING BACK: NO.2

Posted on: Fri 15 Jun 2012

BRANISLAV IVANOVIC
The Serbian defender enjoyed one his most memorable seasons in a Chelsea shirt, but while there were huge highs, such as scoring the winner against Napoli and winning the FA Cup, the campaign will probably be remembered mostly for him missing the Champions League Final through suspension.

With former manager Andre Villas-Boas preferring Jose Bosingwa at the start of the season, Ivanovic had to be patient, but opportunity came at centre-back courtesy of an injury to David Luiz.

His arrival in the side, however, coincided with a bad run of results, but when Villas-Boas shifted him back out to right-back for the away game at Blackburn Rovers, Ivanovic repaid him by crossing for Frank Lampard to head home the only goal of the game.

He kept his place in the side and grew in stature as the season progressed, netting important goals along the way, most notably in the 4-1 win against Napoli at Stamford Bridge and a crucial brace in the 4-2 win against Aston Villa at Villa Park.

His performance in the away leg against Barcelona was outstanding, even more so when taking into account that David Luiz missed the whole game, while John Terry and Gary Cahill failed to complete the first-half, but having picked up a yellow card in the game at the Camp Nou, he was sadly ruled out of the Final in Munich.

He was, however, able to play in the FA Cup Final, and played a fine full 90 minutes at Wembley as we lifted the trophy for the fourth time in six years following a 2-1 win against Liverpool.

Appearances: 42+3
Goals: 5
Assists: 4
Minutes on pitch: 4,026