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Jose Mourinho considers replacing Ivanovic with Zouma for Aston Villa match

Modified 15 Oct 2015, 09:11 IST
Kurt Zouma celebrates his goal against Arsenal earlier this season

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will consider deploying Kurt Zouma as his right back in place of the injured Branislav Ivanovic in their upcoming Premier League fixture against Aston Villa, as per the reports on Guardian. The Serbia international picked up a hamstring injury in their Euro 2016’s qualifier against Albania.

The West London club play Aston Villa this weekend in a must-win encounter and the side will be without the Serbian defender, who has undergone tests at the club’s Cobham training ground. It has been confirmed that Ivanovic is set to be out for three weeks, which has prompted the Portuguese manager to consider his options of deploying makeshift full-back Zouma inhis position.

During the summer, Chelsea signed Baba Rahman from Augsburg for a transfer fee of £21 million. The Ghanian international is a natural left-back and this would be the most obvious solution during Ivanovic’s absence.

However, Mourinho still has his doubts about Rahman and is hesitant to hand him his first Premier League debut. The former Augsburg defender has played only twice this season in Chelsea’s Champions League fixture against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Walsall in the Capital One Cup.

“Baba Rahman arrived in the last day (of the transfer window) and he doesn’t know what it is to play in this kind of championship.” said Mourinho when questioned on why Rahman had not replaced Ivanovic after the 3-1 loss to Southampton at home.

“He had no pre-season with us. He needs time to learn and adapt. At the same time, every team except Maccabi Tel Aviv is a team of giants. If you don’t have a minimum of five tall players good in the air, you are dead on set-pieces.” 

“When I play Azpilicueta on the right and Baba on the left, I have only three. So we have to think about all the details.” 

Zouma is a versatile defender who can play in numerous positions and is currently competing in the starting line up against teammates John Terry and Gary Cahill. Last season, the Frenchman was deployed in a holding midfield role for the Blues and he fared well. 

It’s highly unlikely that Mourinho will hand Rahman his first start in the league and would rather prefer starting Zouma at left-back while Azpilicueta could be reverted to right back position. Perhaps, this could be the much-needed change in the Chelsea team who is struggling to find form and has already lost four games in eight matches this season.

Published 15 Oct 2015, 00:02 IST
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