Chelsea can call upon the services of two national players of the year today as we look to keep Everton at bay at Goodison Park.
Should the defence that has kept two clean sheets on the spin remain unchanged then it will line up with Branislav Ivanovic as one of the central defenders located in front of Petr Cech, who will be making his 400th Chelsea appearance.
Ivanovic on Christmas Eve was named Serbia’s Player of 2012, joining Cech who in May won the Czech Republic equivalent. Eden Hazard was the Ligue 1 Player of the Year in France last season but not the Belgian No. 1.
Ivanovic flew to Serbia and back on Monday for the award ceremony and spoke to the official Chelsea website about his honour, the first time he has won it.
‘For me it is one of the most important awards you can get, but of course I have to say thank you to all my team mates because without Chelsea’s success it is not going to be this for me.
‘It is a great pleasure for me and I will try in the future to do a lot of good things for my country and also for the club. I am trying to copy this year for next year and I hope it is going be more successful for the national team.’
Serbia did not qualify for Euro 2012 and in the wake of that, Ivanovic became the captain of his national team.Despite that high profile job and Chelsea’s Champions League success, he says life is still pretty normal for him when he goes back to his homeland.
At Chelsea, he now has 188 appearances to his name, some way short of Cech’s 399, a club record for a player from overseas.
With our keeper set to pass the 400 game milestone today, Ivanovic talks about playing in front of the number one throughout his time here.
‘Petr for me last year was the best goalkeeper in Europe, and he showed that especially with the way we won the Champions League – but it is not just that year, his career is brilliant and he gives his best years and his best moments to Chelsea.
‘To have him back behind you is a really good thing because he is a guy who makes you trust him.
‘We are defending well as a team at the moment and a lot of that is down to Petr Cech because he is always talking to you and he is someone who always supports you.’