The Serbian defender picked up a hamstring injury on international duty and could be out for up to three weeks, meaning Chelsea FC manager Jos Mourinho could be forced to hand new singing Abdul Baba Rahman his league d but. .

 

Branislav Ivanovi has had a torturous start to the 2015-2016 season, putting in one unconvincing performance after another at right-back, in part due to being exposed by the failings of the Chelsea FC midfield. The Serbian’s season has gone from bad to worse however, with the defender picking up a hamstring injury that is expected to keep him out of action for up to three weeks.

Chelsea FC manager Jos Mourinho has seen fit to use new left-back signing Abdul Baba Rahman only in cup competitions thus far this season, but the injury to the Blues’ vice-captain means that the Ghanaian could get his first taste of Premier League football this weekend.

Ivanovi expected to be out for three weeks

The 31-year-old picked up the injury in Serbia’s 2-0 win over Albania in their Euro 2016 qualifier last Thursday, and could now be out of action for up to three weeks, according to a report in England’s Mail Online.

Ivanovi returned to London over the weekends for scans on the injury, and the results appear to show a tear in his hamstring. The recovery process is likely to be a gradual one given the nature of the injury, meaning Mourinho could well hand new signing Abdul Baba Rahman his Premier League d but.

By way of explanation for why he hasn’t yet seen significant minutes on the pitch, the Portuguese said after the defeat to Southampton (via Mail Online): “Because Baba Rahman arrived in the last day, because he doesn’t know what is is to play in this kind of championship.

“He had no pre-season with us. He needs time to learn, he needs time to adapt. If you don’t have a minimum of five tall players good in the air, you are dead in set-pieces. When I play Azpilicueta on the right and Baba Rahman on the left and I don’t play Ivanovi , I have only three, not ever four.”

Mourinho has three options at his disposal — Baba is the best one

The Blues’ boss essentially has three options available to him in light of the injury to his vice-captain. The first — and most obvious — one is that Chelsea FC new-boy Abdul Baba Rahman plays at left-back, with Spaniard C sar Azpilicueta moving to the right. Given that both full-backs would be playing in their natural positions with an understanding of their role, this is the Portuguese’s best option.

Another option would be France youngster Kurt Zouma playing at right-back. This is a possibility particularly when taking into account the importance Mourinho places on having tall players in the team in order to defend set-pieces. Gary Cahill and Chelsea FC captain John Terry would form the central defensive pairing, with Azpilicueta retaining his position on the left.

The final — and least likely — option is for Mourinho to use Chelsea FC academy graduate and England U20 international Ola Aina at right-back. The youngster has been training with the first-team squad this season and is blessed with blistering pace and the ability to run up and down the flank throughout the game. His poor decision-making skills and general lack of experience count against him though, and the chances are that Stamford Bridge will witness Baba Rahman in league action for the first time come Saturday.