Chelsea's Failure to get the best out of N'Golo Kante results in embarrassing loss against Tottenham

Kante has been playing out of his usual position
has been playing out of his usual position
Nikhil Bhanu
Modified 25 Nov 2018

Chelsea's unbeaten Season came to an end as they were convincingly beaten 3-1 by rivals Tottenham Hotspur. There are many factors that led to Maurizio Sarri's first competitive loss, but his gross underutilisation of N'Golo Kante has to be right up there on the list.

Central Defensive Midfielders have become such a vital part of the modern game, players that intercept balls in dangerous areas, Protect the defence, stop counter-attacks, kick-start attacks for their teams and basically do the dirty work that eventually leads to a team's progress in the final third to score all those incredible Goals we can never stop talking about.

When it comes to these Midfielders in holding roles there are a few in the World better than N'Golo Kante. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there is no CDM in the World better than N'Golo Kante. Whether we take Leicester's Title winning Season or the following year when Kante won the Title again with Antonio Conte's Chelsea, it was clear that the Frenchman in front of the defenders was sensational and pivotal for his team. So much so that in the 2016/17 Season, Kante was awarded the PFA player of the Year award.

Kante has been playing the Holding role for both Club and Country since 2016 now and after a victorious World Cup campaign in which he famously neutralised Leo Messi's threat in a game against Argentina and also played a crucial role in eventually winning the World Cup for France. Cut to the start of the Premier League Season, Chelsea have appointed Maurizio Sarri as their new Manager and Italian Midfielder Jorginho as their First New Signing.

Jorginho's signing led to Kante being moved to an advanced role

Now before we get into the details of what Chelsea could've done with Kante to possibly get a better result against Spurs we need to understand what Jorginho brings to the table. First of all, Jorginho is a 'regista' or a deep-lying playmaker and is probably one of the best in his position. But what we need to understand is that while Jorginho is the payer that makes Chelsea tick on the ball, off the ball he is pretty underwhelming. Jorginho takes up the same position as Kante did in the past and when Chelsea has possession he pulls the strings in Midfield but while defending he becomes more of a liability. So what can Chelsea do to fix this problem?

The answer lies in Chelsea's 2014/15 Title winning Season under Jose Mourinho. For those of you who remember that Season, Chelsea played a double Pivot in Midfield with Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas playing side by side in the same position. Fabregas was given full freedom to operate offensively while Matic carried out his defensive duties as well as Fabregas'. Chelsea needs to do something similar this Season if they want to beat the big teams who can press them on the counter.

The Situation at Chelsea is such that they need Kante in his best position protecting the defence while Jorginho in the same position to carry out his offensive duties. Sarri needs to find the right balance and bring the best out of both these players. A double Pivot is tricky but with the right balance and tactics Chelsea can very well pull it off.

Against Tottenham, this is what they were lacking in Midfield a presence that could cancel out Tottenham's constant pressing and maybe Kante alongside Jorginho could've given the Italian International a lot more time and freedom to operate in Midfield and eventually could have provided better service to the Forwards. Sarri really needs to contemplate and give this Chelsea midfield another thought.

Published 25 Nov 2018
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