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Ivanovic Debut In Reserves


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Branislav Ivanovic makes his Chelsea reserve team debut tonight, as we entertain table-topping West Ham at Griffin Park, in a game that can be seen live on Chelsea TV.

Ivanovic has not featured competitively for the club since signing from Lokomotiv Moscow in January, and is joined by Claudio Pizarro and Steve Sidwell, who are not eligible for Champions League action.

With FA Youth Cup final action on Thursday to consider, manager Brendan Rodgers has named an experienced eleven, with no youth players in the starting line-up. The team does include Franco Di Santo though, and the Argentine has scored with impressive regularity for the second string.

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Portuguese pair Fabio Ferreira and Ricardo Fernandes also feature, while Jimmy Smith captains the side.

Youth team regulars Tom Taiwo, Jack Saville and Daniel Philliskirk are on the bench, along with goalkeeper Niclas Heimann.

West Ham are currently on a five-game winning streak, and sit a point above Aston Villa who have two games in hand.

The away game against the Hammers, played in December at Bishop's Stortford FC, ended in a goalless draw, and brought to an end a five-game losing streak for our reserves.

Miroslav Stoch hit the crossbar with a long-range effort, the closest either side came to victory, in a game that was just days before our FA Youth Cup journey started at Stevenage.

The Blues are currently eighth in the FA Premier Reserve League South, with three games remaining.

Three games unbeaten, the side drew 1-1 with Arsenal last week, which followed up a 2-0 win against Derby and a 0-0 at Birmingham.

Chelsea will be without reserve team regular James Simmonds, whose loan spell at Dover Athletic has been extended until the end of the season.

Chelsea team: Stuart Searle, Carl Magnay, Branislav Ivanovic, Jimmy Smith ©, Shaun Cummings, Steve Sidwell, Fabio Ferreira, Phil Younghusband, Franco Di Santo, Claudio Pizarro, Ricardo Fernandes.

Subs: Tom Taiwo, Niclas Heimann (GK), Jack Saville, Daniel Philliskirk.

Kick-off at Griffin Park is at 7pm, and admission is £5 for adults and £3 for concessions. The game is also live on Chelsea TV, as part of the Monday Night Live programme, which begins at 6.30pm.

The programme will have all the latest news from in and around Stamford Bridge plus a full training ground report from Cobham as Chelsea's official television channel sees how the youths are preparing for the final against Manchester City.

The first leg of the final at Stamford Bridge will also be broadcast live on Thursday evening, and there will be free entry for supporters.

Source: Chelsea FC

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Yep, I was impressed by Ivanovic too Hazboom. Superb on the ball and good in the air.

And looked as if he was only in second gear for most of it.

Looks as if he could be a good prospect. If hes near as good as Vidic has been recently, we've got ourselves a great player.

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A great result for a Chelsea reserves team that has struggled a lot this season to score goals let alone win games against a West Ham team sitting top of the league. There was a debut for Branislav Ivanovic who played at centre back alongside Jimmy Smith and was very impressive. There was also a couple of players dropping from the first team to play in Claudio Pizarro who was playing the attacking midfield role and doing very very well and Steve Sidwell who also had an impressive game.

The Chelsea team were on top throughout and definately deserved the win, we were strong in defence mainly thanks to the organisation and ability of Ivanovic. And we was looking very dangerous in attack due to some fantastic link up play between Pizarro and Di Santo. Overall it was an impressive display and worthy of the win.

Player Reviews:

Stuart Searle: It is good that he is part of the coaching set up because there is one thing that the young Chelsea keepers can learn from him and that is talking to the defence, he is excellant at that and he also pulled off some good saves in this game. 7

Carl Magnay: One of many players played out of position at the start of this game. Carl was asked to play at right back for this game with varying results. At times he did well, defending strong and breaking well down the wing. At other times he was being eaten far too easily and struggling. 6

Branislav Ivanovic: Debut in a Chelsea shirt and a very impressive one. Played at centre back and he looked extremely comfortable, his headering was fantastic and he has a great burst of speed on him. His descision making was top class and he looked very comfortable on the ball too. It was just a reserve game but he looks a great player to me, would be interested to see him play right back now. 8

Jimmy Smith: Another asked to play out of position. Smith again being asked to slot in at centre back. He never looks totally comfortable there but he did well and didn't too much wrong. Worked hard and distributed the ball well. 7

Shaun Cummings: Shaun is becomming Mr reliable. Always does very well at either right or left back. Will be interesting to see where the club go with him now because he is very comfortable at reserve level now. Could turn into a great full back. 7

Phil Younghusband: Easily his best game for a very very long while. He was composed on the ball and his passing was very very good. But the best thing was his dead ball skills. Fantastic deliveries and we profited from one and came very very close on several other occasions. On that performance you would hope he can get picked up by another club for next season. 8

Steve Sidwell: If Sidwell could play like this for the first team he would be getting games without doubt, but it just goes to prove that his level just isn't good enough. Ran the midfield running box to box and influencing both ends. For his own sake should move in the summer where he can do this on a weekly basis. 7

Claudio Pizarro: Fantastic display, and very interestingly played in the attacking midfield spot behind the striker where he did amazing. He was great on the ball and was running off Di Santo's headers, which he did for his goal and setting plays up. It was good to see Pizarro play this well and it would be interesting to see him play that role for the first team. 8

Fabio Ferreria: A very good display from Ferreira this game. For once actually beating his man, he looked better on the left cutting inside funnily enough but he worked hard and did well. Took his goal very very well. Still too lightweight for my liking. 7

Ricardo Fernandes: A good player. Again out of position on left wing but you can see what he is all about. It's going to be interesting to see once he gets going again after his very very long lay off how he progresses, and if he can become the great player he looked like becomming. 7

Franco Di Santo: It is typical for the lone sriker role that in his 2 best games he has failed to score. Although how he didn't score in this game i will never know. He was very very unlucky on several occasions. He has all the abilty and i like how hard he will work, great player and a top signing.

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