It was big-money signing Diego Costa who got the crucial goal as Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-1 at the weekend but Branislav Ivanovic again typified his team’s resolve and determination under Jose Mourinho.
Ivanovic doesn’t steal headlines in the same way that his Brazilian teammate does, nor does he possess the technical or creative quality of many other modern full-backs.
Yet the Serbian defender produced another steady, uncompromising performance against Liverpool.
Without a player of his type, the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Oscar, Eden Hazard and Costa wouldn’t have the platform upon which to flex their attacking muscles.
One look at Liverpool’s alternative to Ivanovic – Glen Johnson – and his importance to Chelsea is only emphasized: Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and even Manchester City would pine for a player of the Ivanovic’s reliability.
After moving to Chelsea from Lokomotiv Moscow six years ago, the Serb overcame a slow start to life in English football and has grown into one of the club’s most important players.
What he lacks in style, he makes up for in strength and discipline and this season he has formed a vital part of the Premier League’s most impressive team.
Against Liverpool the 30 year-old turned in a match-winning performance and whilst his fellow defender Gary Cahill might have netted the equalizer, Ivanovic was typically stoic and unruffled throughout the match.
Costa and Fabregas may continue to lead from the front for Chelsea for the remainder of the season, but Ivanovic will continue to occupy the unfashionable right-back position in his typical style.