Branislav Ivanovic: Eden Hazard still committed to Chelsea

Branislav Ivanovic has defended Eden Hazard after the Chelsea playmaker’s midweek shirt swap against PSG and says the Belgian remains committed to the Blues.

Branislav Ivanovic: Eden Hazard still committed to Chelsea

Hazard made a half-time shirt swap with Angel di Maria as the Blues exited the Champions League on Wednesday night and he was booed by some Chelsea supporters when he was substituted 13 minutes from time.

The 25-year-old was Chelsea’s leading performer last term, but has been underwhelming this season and refused to rule out a summer switch to PSG on the eve of the first leg last month.

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink afterwards revealed Hazard had a hip problem and Ivanovic believes the Belgian showed his commitment to the cause by playing.

“Did that show how committed he is? Yes. Of course when you lose a game the fans are not happy and they have to be like that,” Ivanovic told the Evening Standard. “But in my opinion it was one of his best performances so far. He was very strong and quick. He wanted to score and had a couple of actions where he looked like last season.”

The focus now for Chelsea is tomorrow’s FA Cup quarter-final at Everton

Everton winger Aaron Lennon (hamstring) is a doubt for the game, along with defender Bryan Oviedo, who was in hospital on Wednesday with a chest infection.

Elsewhere Arsene Wenger says Arsenal are still waiting to discover the full extent of Aaron Ramsey’s thigh injury.

The Wales midfielder was injured in Tuesday’s FA Cup replay win at Hull and, depending on the damage, could miss key fixtures in the Premier League title run-in, plus next week’s Champions League last-16 second leg in Barcelona.

“We don’t know how bad it is,” Wenger said, ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final clash with Watford.

Laurent Koscielny suffered a calf problem against Manchester United last month and remains a doubt for Sunday.

Goalkeeper Petr Cech (calf), Jack Wilshere (ankle) and fellow midfielder Santi Cazorla (knee) are all nearing returns, but the Hornets clash comes too soon.

Meanwhile Alan Pardew will look across the dugout to his old friend Brian McDermott tonight as Crystal Palace travel to Reading’s Madejski Stadium in their cup quarter-final tonight.

Palace are without a top-flight win since December 19 but have eliminated Southampton, Stoke, and Tottenham to remain in contention to reach Wembley. “I’m looking forward to seeing Brian and a few old friends at Reading. If we get beaten, I know what the club are going through and that’ll be the only consolation,” said Pardew.

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