Chelsea star is Premier League's best right-back

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Branislav Ivanovic does not look like your typical Premier League right-back.

The Chelsea defender is 6ft 2in tall and strong as an ox; he is, essentially, a centre-back doing a job in the full-back position.

But what a sterling job he's done there in recent seasons for the Blues.

The 29-year-old is a willing runner who always gets himself in advanced positions, but never neglects his defensive responsibilities. He is good on the ball and strong in the tackle, terrific in the air - in both boxes - and fiercely committed.

He is, on current form, the Premier League's best right-back.

Last season it was Manchester City's Pablo Zabaleta who deservedly took the plaudits - and the right-back spot in the PFA's Team of the Year - after a stellar campaign at the Etihad Stadium.

There's little to separate the two right-backs because they're so similar: two manager's dreams who work tirelessly and are decent at both ends of the pitch.

Sure, there are areas Ivanovic can improve. His crossing isn't always up to scratch, but that can be worked on and improved; the important thing is that the fundamental aspects of his game are spot on.

There's no danger of Jose Mourinho replacing him with the lightweight Cesar Azpilicueta, who may need to consider his future because Ivanovic, who does not turn 30 until February, still has a good few years left in him.

Aside from Zabaleta there are few right-backs in the Premier League at Ivanovic's level, with the exception perhaps of Manchester United's Rafael, who is superb going forward but still needs to fine-tune his defensive game.

Tottenham's Kyle Walker is similar, while Liverpool's Glen Johnson has improved significantly over the last 18 months but is still found wanting on occasions.

Arsenal's Bacary Sagna is now the wrong side of 30 and not the player he once was, while Everton's Seamus Coleman lacks physicality.

Sometimes it feels like a waste seeing Ivanovic plying his trade in the right-back position - he's more than capable of being a rock at the heart of the Blues' defence - but when he plays as well as he does, on such a consistent basis, Mourinho can't be blamed for keeping him out there.

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Premier League
Branislav Ivanovic
Pablo Zabaleta

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