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Further bad news on Ivanovic as Kurt Zouma is set to deputise at right-back -- report

Oh where oh where could my Baba be...

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Steve Vai isn't known for his singing prowess, and that's far from undeserved.  He is, after all, a guitar player.  But in "Silent Within", he does sing "there's no end to the bottom when we start to fall". To me, this perfectly encapsulates Chelsea's current moment, especially with the latest report coming from the Guardian that Branislav Ivanovic, who is set to miss up to a month of playing time due to a hamstring injury picked up while at the Serbian national team, will be replaced by Kurt Zouma in the starting lineup against Aston Villa.

Although Ivanovic might return earlier than expected -- the report says it will take at least three weeks for him to completely recover from the injury -- Chelsea has a very tough schedule between the October and November international breaks. In the next seven matches, the Blues will face Stoke away twice, once for the League Cup and once for the Premier League, while having tough tasks in the EPL at West Ham's Boleyn Ground and the prospect of being put against Liverpool in what will be Jürgen Klopp's first rivalry match in England.

This tough schedule might also explain why Zouma would be used at right-back ahead of shifting César Azpilicueta and playing Baba Rahman at left-back, like so many fans have been clamouring for ever since Ivanovic showed signs of bad form at the start of the season. Given Mourinho's reasoning to pick Ivanovic over Rahman, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise that the team is looking to improvise Zouma at an unnatural position instead of using a new, unadapted player ahead of a match in which the opponent's best goalscorer Rudy Gestede has been a beast with headers.

Using Zouma as a right back would of course mean retaining the Terry-Cahill partnership in the center of defense, who weren't exactly impressive in our last match.  Ivanovic's injury also leaves the squad with a bit of a depth problem, meaning that we'll probably look to our U21 academy prospects to fill in. We will perhaps see defender Ola Aina, who took part in Chelsea's pre-season activities, make the bench for a few matches as Gary Cahill, John Terry, Kurt Zouma, César Azpilicueta and hopefully Baba Rahman will all be rotating across Chelsea's back-four in our quest to rediscover solid defending and clean sheets.

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