SERBIAN ace Branislav Ivanovic has plunged Chelsea into a defensive crisis.

Ivanovic hit with FA charge

Ivanovic was charged yesterday for Saturday’s off-the-ball clash with Wigan’s Shaun Maloney.

He will be banned for three games, including this Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final against Spurs.

But he does have until 6pm today to respond to the violent conduct rap.

The Serbian appeared to punch Maloney at the end of Chelsea’s 2-1 win over Wigan, an incident missed by the officials.

He will also miss crucial Premier League games against Arsenal and QPR as his side fight for fourth place and to qualify for the Champions League. But Ivanovic’s absence at Wembley is of more concern to caretaker-boss Roberto di Matteo.

He is already without injured England left-back Ashley Cole and will be forced to field rookie Ryan Bertrand, 22.

Skipper John Terry is battling on at centre-half despite breaking two ribs two weeks ago against Benfica. Defensive partner David Luiz has an ankle knock.

Paulo Ferreria will deputise for Ivanovic