N’Golo Kante had a good game against West Ham on Monday night, and Kante having a good game have by far been a regular theme all through the season, last season too (if you want to add his spell at Leicester City).
Chelsea legend Pat Nevin summed up everything about Kante is his column for the official Chelsea website, and it was perfectly written.
He wrote: “There are plenty of jokes going around at the moment about the special abilities of N’Golo Kante.
“Eden Hazard talking about there being N’Golo twins on the field against West Ham was a nice one-liner, Leicester playing with 12 men last season because N’Golo played both sides of Danny Drinkwater etc etc. Well he was at it again in east London where it seemed like he was omnipresent on the field. Were there three Kante’s playing? It seemed like it at times. One minute he was on the left wing, the next right full-back and all the while winning tackle after tackle he had no right to win.
“Sitting beside Jason and Tommy on Chelsea TV, there was a moment when a West Ham player had the ball on the left-hand side and shaped up to try to dribble past N’Golo down the line. We all laughed in unison even before the tackle came. Why did he even think there was the vaguest possibility of a notion that he might pass N’Golo with the ball? Needless to say our one-man midfield effortlessly relieved him of possession and moved on with minimal fuss.
“We use the words world class far too liberally these days when TV hyperbole deems it necessary to build up the spectacle and hold the viewers’ attention. Being the best in the world or in the top two or three is a massive compliment and it often is only one part of a footballer’s game that puts him right up there, so do not say world class lightly.
“Frank Lampard was a world-class finisher from the midfield area. Eden Hazard is a world-class dribbler, Cesc a world-class passer of a football and N’Golo Kante almost certainly has no equal as a midfield tackler in the game today. In an era when tackling is a dying art and opponents are quick to throw themselves to the ground with the hint of the merest breath of wind against their bodies, getting the ball clean and coming away with it, without being penalised is particularly difficult. N’Golo Kante makes it look ridiculously easy.
“You do not have to be a football aficionado to spot how impressive his role was in the opening goal against West Ham. It wasn’t just a tackle or an interception, it was reading his opponent’s mind before the player knew what he was going to do himself. The rest of the move was a thing of beauty too, but that moment was the catalyst. From then on in the game, the Hammers’ midfielders regularly took the safe option rather than taking any chances when the ball thief was in the vicinity and that became the platform for Chelsea to win the game.”
He won four tackles and made eight ball recoveries against the Hammers. You’d be right to think that £30 million for Kante was a steal.