A blow for both Chelsea and Serbia: Branislav Ivanovic's back injury is more serious than first thought and may sideline the defender for up to six weeks.
Chelsea's Serbian international defender Branislav Ivanovic will miss at least two games for his country and is a doubt for Chelsea's matches away to West Ham and MSK Zilina due to a back complaint that has seen him face limited time so far this season:
"I came to Belgrade to see my team-mates, but the back injury is such that I cannot train or play."
Ivanovic, who had been filling in at right-back due to Jose Bosingwa's long-term absence, is a key player for the Blues and the news that he could be facing up to six weeks off might force Chelsea into splashing out money on a defender. Due to his versatility, Ivanovic serves as cover across the entire back line, and with both him and reserve centre-back Jeffrey Bruma injured, Chelsea will face serious questions if John Terry or Alex go down with a major injury. Terry was forced to play through a hamstring problem on Saturday, and one has to imagine that Carlo Ancelotti would be loathe to disrupt his formation by drafting Jon Obi Mikel or Michael Essien into the defence in the event that there's a more long-term injury to either of the two starters.
I've been saying since before the season started that Chelsea would be in deep trouble if they lost any one of Ivanovic, Terry, and Alex, and now they have. With the defensive depth thinning out heavily (Michael Mancienne and Slobodan Rajkovic out on loan, Sam Hutchinson retired), they've got to be hoping desperately that the international break will see Terry shaking off his knock and Bruma return to full fitness. However, with the transfer deadline tomorrow, the club may well decide that simply hoping things will work out is too risky and that they need to make a big buy to shore up the back line. It's a tough problem, and I'm interested in seeing how the Blues deal with it.