Updated: January 2019

How will Chelsea really fare without Kante?

3 January 2019

N’golo Kante who recently sustained a hamstring injury during France’s win over Bulgaria was the second acquisition in Chelsea’s Antonio Conte era that began in the summer of 2016 and has been regarded till date as the bargain of the decade by some soccer fans at £32 million. N’golo came into the Chelsea team as a winner of the premier league and directly into the first team with Antonio Conte always finding a way to create a position for him in any of his experimental formations finally making him his most consistent midfielder forming a formidable and a premier league winning midfield pair with Nemanja Matic for the most of the 2016/2017 season.

The 26-year-old tough-tackling midfield player is very popular for his special ability of breaking up opposition play and intelligently distributing the ball. He was a member of the historic Leicester city FC side that won the premier league in 2016; he was so exceptional that he was named in the team of the year. A year later at Chelsea, he bested himself by going on to win the PFA player’s player of the year award ahead of his Chelsea teammate Eden Hazard. Such was his ability and contribution to the Chelsea team that hazard publicly stated that his vote would go to Kante. In the same year, he won the FWA player of the year award.


In the current premier league season, he has appeared in all first seven matches for Chelsea consistently proving his worth in every game. He is the only player alongside Thibaut Courtois, M. Alonso and Azpilicueta to have started Chelsea’s entire premier league matches this season before his injury completing 297 passes with a pass accuracy of 84 percent while 75 percent of those forward passes. This shows how very comfortable he is on the ball and how attack-minded he can be.


He has attempted five shots this season with one of those being on target and that one being a goal against his former club Leicester city FC. A not so bad statistics for a player who is popular for his tackles and interceptions, a man with zero errors leading to goals so far in his premier league career.

This injury leaves the Italian tactician with the option of a 3-4-3 formation with Fabregas and Bakayoko being the midfielders available. The absence of Danny Drinkwater makes it even more difficult for the Italian coach with Ruben Loftus-Cheek out on loan, the only player in the Chelsea first team that can play that role would be David Luiz. The Brazilian defender has already shown he is capable in the win against Tottenham this season.


Any other option for Conte would have to be one from the reserve team. Ethan replaced Fabregas in the Carabao Cup win against Nottingham Forest but is less likely to be called upon by the team manager.

This injury shows that Chelsea lack depth in the midfield position and could pay dearly for it in the weeks to come. Didier Deschamp admitted after the match against Bulgaria that the exit of Kante may have affected the overall performance of his French side and Antonio would surely have his work cut out for him in order to avoid similar results from his Chelsea side. To be fair though, an injury to a player of such caliber would be a worry for any coach in Europe. So far Chelsea has already struggled against Crystal Palace. Hope they don’t miss Kante too much.