Aston Villa 1 Chelsea 2: Chelsea have spent a lot of money in January... but few have been better value for than Branislav Ivanovic

COMMENT: The right-back was signed for nearly £10m seven years ago

Simon Johnson
Saturday 07 February 2015 18:49 GMT
(Getty Images)

Chelsea have made a lot of high profile signings during the January transfer window over the years, but few have proved more value for money than Branislav Ivanovic.

Some players have come and gone to Chelsea for an awful lot of cash - Fernando Torres, David Luiz and Nicolas Anelka spring to mind.

Those three arrived at Stamford Bridge in a blaze of publicity, meanwhile Ivanovic's arrival from Lokomotiv Moscow for £9.8m in 2008 barely caused a stir.

For the past seven years, the Serbia international has given consistent performances week after week and weighed in with some priceless goals.

Last month he netted the crucial winner against Liverpool to book Chelsea's place in the League Cup Final.

Many Chelsea supporters will have fond memories of his last minute intervention to secure the Europa League in 2013 too.

However, a superbly drilled left foot shot at Villa Park today could prove to be the most important of the lot.

With Chelsea ailing and embarrassingly conceding an equaliser to Aston Villa, which was their first League goal for 11 hours, another wasted opportunity looked on the cards.

As Manchester City dropped two crucial points at home to beleaguered Hull, Chelsea had a great and unexpected chance to extend the gap.

It looked Jose Mourinho's jinx at Villa Park was going to continue too - the Special One's record was far from special until now in the top flight played five, won none.

But with one devastating swing of his left boot, Ivanovic drilled the ball into the top corner to rapturous celebrations in the away end.

It means that Chelsea are now seven points clear of Manchester City and also boosted their goal difference advantage over their closest challengers to 10, which is worth another point at this stage.

'We are top of the League' the Chelsea fans sang in great delight at the end and Ivanovic is the one they have to thank for their lead looking so strong once again.

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