Ivanovic leaves Chelsea after nine years

Бранислав Иванович продолжит карьеру в «Зените»
Credit: Zenit St Petersburg

Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic has left Chelsea after nine years with the Blues, having signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Russian side Zenit St Petersburg for an undisclosed fee.

Ivanovic joined Chelsea in 2008 from Lokomotiv Moscow, and went on to feature in over 350 first team games for the team.

Chelsea fans can look back fondly on his impressive career with the club, which included an medals list of the following: Champions League winners, Premier League title x2, FA Cup winners x3, League Cup winners, Community Shield and their Europa League success in 2013.

First team opportunities had become increasingly sparse, and the 32-year-old had only made six starts for table-topping Chelsea so far this season.

Ivanovic managed mark what was his final appearance for the Blues with a goal, as he scored in the 4-0 victory over Brentford in the FA Cup at the weekend.

Another club stalwart in John Terry was one of the first players to make a tribute to ‘Brana’, who he described as a ‘legend’.

Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Tuesday night, but should have taken all three points if not for a missed penalty by Diego Costa.

The Blues host Arsenal this Saturday at 12:30, and this along with the rest of the Premier League scores are available to be followed at popular site SBAT.com.

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Police make arrest in connection to Chris Brunt coin throwing indicent

The Police have made an arrest in connection to the coin throwing incident, in which West Bromich Albion midfielder Chris Brunt was struck by the object after his side lost 3-1 at Reading on Saturday.

Brunt’s side were beaten comfortably by Reading, with the result sending the Royals into the FA Cup Quarter finals against the odds. The Northern Ireland international was heading towards the travelling faithful to hand a supporter his shirt when he was hit in the face, leaving a visible mark immediately.

Throwing a coin at a player is shocking enough, but the fact the coin was thrown the traveling Albion fans makes the case 10x worse. Brunt has made over 300 appearances for the club and is one of the longest serving players. He told the press of his “disgust” at the coin thrower, and was “ashamed” by the whole thing.

Thankfully, Thames Valley Police said the man was arrested on Tuesday, also announcing that the arrest was part of a joint operation held with the Hampshire Police department. The club have also announced that they will impose the “severest of actions” on the guilty party.

A case of ‘monkey see monkey do’, Chelsea fans were also guilty of coin throwing this weekend, as they pelted Manchester City player David Faupala and his teammates on Sunday as they celebrated their equaliser at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea’s statement following this incident stated they would impose lifetime bans for the offenders.

 

Hiddink is the man to replace Mourinho

Guus Hiddink is all set to become the interim manager at Chelsea following Jose Mourinho’s dismissal on Wednesday evening.

The former-Netherlands coach was in London on Friday to hold talks with the hierarchy at the Blues, as the two parties look to iron out a deal.

Saturday’s visit to Sunderland will be a game too soon for Hiddink, with the Chelsea players looking to bounce back from Monday nights 2-1 loss to unlikely Premier League leaders Leicester City.

Hiddink, who has hosted a host of clubs, had managed Chelsea before as the interim coach back in 2009. He won the FA Cup with the club that year.

Mourinho endured jubilation at the end of last season as he led his Blues to the Premier League title, but his joy was short-lived, as seven months later he is now without a job having led Chelsea to one of their worst first halves of the season in recent times.

Chelsea sit in 16th place, one point above the relegation zone going into Saturday’s game.

Rumours of the dressing room being against Mourinho may have been quashed by club captain John Terry, who described Wednesday as a sad day for Chelsea on his personal Instagram.

“Going to miss you boss,

“The very best I have ever worked with, unbelievable memories together. Thank you doesn’t seem enough.”

Terry was not alone in thanking his former boss, as Cesar Azpilicueta also claimed it to be a sad day.

“I would publicly like to thank Jose Mourinho for his contribution to this club and for everything he has taught me over the years.

“He will always be remembered. Thank you mister.”

Hiddink’s challenge for the remainder of the season will be to try and lead his team up the table and into the European places – whether that be the Europa League or Champions League, at a push.

Cherries suffer more injury woes

On a large, it hasn’t been too bad a start to the season for AFC Bournemouth, who are enjoying life in their first year in the big flight of English football. – But the club have had yet another set back today, as club Captain Tommy Elphick has been ruled out until 2016 at the earliest.

Above reigning champions Chelsea, and eight points from eight games, – that would have probably pleased fans of the Cherries before the season started, with the club more importantly three places above the dreaded relegation zone – which swallows up and spits out three unlucky clubs each season.

However it’s not all been fairytales for the club thus far. Striker Callum Wilson picked up where he left off from the previous season, scoring for fun – and this time at a higher level. Five goals from the opening seven games left Wilson on England manager Roy Hodgson’s mind, that is until he suffered a rupture to the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in a match against Stoke City in late September, ruling him out for up to six months.

The injury curse seems to be sticking with the club, as Elphick has been ruled out until the New Year after surgery on an ankle injury that has plagued him since August.

Elphick hasn’t appeared for the club since the 3-1 loss to Norwich last month, with Cherries boss Eddie Howe telling the press of the bad news earlier on today, whilst given an update on Wilson too.

“Tommy has had surgery on his ankle and could face 10 weeks out. It could be shorter.

“He (Wilson) has had surgery on his knee and he’s in good form.

“Callum is a guy who has got a great mentality. Whether he’s playing or he’s injured, that doesn’t really change.

“He’s focused on his rehab and coming back stronger than ever. Although he faces a long recovery time, he’s in good mental shape.”

Bournemouth face the difficult task of a trip to the Etihad on Saturday to face Manchester Cuty in a 3pm kick off against the league leaders.