Branislav Ivanovic is facing the axe ahead of Chelsea's trip to the KCOM Stadium to face Hull City on Saturday (1 October) as Antonio Conte looks to repair the Blues' leaky defence that has conceded seven goals in their last three Premier League games. The Serbian defender's performances have been below par this season.
Antonio Conte has made it clear that Chelsea's defence is his biggest problem at the moment as they are conceding too many goals. The Italian manager, however, admits that they are working on fixing the problems which have been evident since last season, which saw them finish in tenth place.
"At the moment I think we must solve a big problem. The problem is that we concede a lot of goals. We must solve this and we are working to solve this problem. We are working on many principles, but it's not easy when you start a new season with a new team and just transfer all your ideas across," Conte said, as quoted by the Times.
"We finished in tenth place last season. When you finish tenth, it means you have problems. In this situation it's important to understand also that we haven't got a magic wand to change the situation in two, three, four months. This team has talent but with talent, you must add running, intensity, sacrifice, wanting to win the ball when you lose it . . . all of this. We are working very hard on these aspects to improve them."
Ivanovic has been a regular in the Chelsea starting XI in recent seasons, but has struggled to replicate his form from previous campaigns thus far. The Daily Mail says the Serbia international could be dropped to the bench with Marcos Alonso likely to start in his place. The former Bolton defender could come in at left-back with Cezar Azpilicueta moving to the opposite flank in the full back position
Chelsea are suffering in the absence of John Terry, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury and the Italian coach confirmed that he will only return to action after the international break.