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Chelsea stalwart to be axed as part of Antonio Conte’s reshuffle

Chelsea veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic is reportedly set to be dropped by Antonio Conte for the trip to Hull City on Saturday.

The Italian tactician has been forced into considering ways to change things as his side have conceded nine goals in the last four games in all competitions, and have fallen to disappointing losses to Liverpool and Arsenal during that period.

With the leaky defence at the top of his agenda, The Daily Mail claim that Ivanovic could be the one to go as Conte looks to implement his preferred system of a back-three.

John Terry misses out against Hull due to his troublesome ankle injury, and it appears as though Ivanovic could be benched with the 32-year-old’s recent form considered part of the problem according to the report.

The Mail goes on to report that Conte held talks with owner Roman Abramovich at the training ground this week on three separate occasions, as the pair and technical director Michael Emenalo discussed how to improve the club’s situation moving forward.

It’s claimed that Chelsea will be active in the January transfer window, and that the owner is ‘comfortable with Conte’s progress’ despite the fact that the club sit in eighth place after six games and are eight points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

The season started well for Conte and his men as they secured three consecutive league wins, but ultimately they’ve been unable to keep things tight at the back and have been outplayed by two direct rivals in Liverpool and Arsenal.

Perhaps it’s not just a coincidence that the poor results have come while Terry has been sidelined with injury, with summer signing David Luiz and Gary Cahill unable to offer the defensive solidity that is so important to Conte.

In turn, Terry’s return to the line-up can’t come soon enough for Chelsea, who will hope that they can get back to winning ways at Hull to ease some of the pressure that is building.

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