LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea battles with Ezequiel Lavezzi of Napoli during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg match between Chelsea FC and SSC Napoli at Stamford Bridge on March 14, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Amid the happy quotes coming out of interim manager Roberto di Matteo following a very composed 1-0 away win against Benfica on Tuesday was some less than good news: Branislav Ivanovic is still hurt, and may not be back for this weekend:
[Ivanovic] failed a fitness test this morning, will need to see how he recovers in the next few days, at the moment he's doubtful for the weekend, but we hope he can recover as soon as possible.
That's not good. Jose Bosingwa, as we've seen time after time, is something of a liability, and although di Matteo avoided committing him to the starting lineup in Lisbon, Paulo Ferreira is hardly a reliable option to replace him, simply because it's unlikely that the veteran fullback will actually be able to play multiple matches in a week (or fortnight, even). If Ivanovic doesn't recover for the weekend, I'd guess we see Bosingwa start at Villa Park, which is not happy news.
We haven't seen Ivanovic since the early stages of the 2-1 loss at Manchester City, where he was withdrawn as a 'precautionary' measure citing tightness in his thigh. He had returned to training over the weekend and was expected to play some part in the match against Benfica prior to the setback.
Get well soon Bran!