3.4 Tackles Per Game: Why This Beast Midfielder Will Be An Important Figure For Chelsea Against Arsenal?

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N’Golo Kante has managed no goals or assists in 450 minutes of action for Chelsea, but yet, he could be one of the important players for the team going into the game against Arsenal this weekend. It may be early days, but Kante has already reminded the club about Claude Makelele. In his five years at Chelsea, Makelele was so good that he had the defensive midfield position named after him. A player of similar physical stature and build, Kante has been impressing Chelsea fans with his immense work rate and ability to read the game. The latter will be especially of greater importance in the game against Arsenal.

Both teams could not have contrasting fortunes in terms of head-to-head statistics as Arsenal have not beaten Chelsea in the league since 2011, but this time around, they will welcome a Chelsea team without a league win in two games. Arsenal, though, managed to win their third consecutive league game last week against Hull City. Their attackers will be much more confident and it increases the need for a player like Kante.

Sometimes a defensive midfielder should only think about dispossessing the opposition and giving the ball to his teammates. It sounds too easy, but most defensive midfielders invariably fail at one of the two requirements. Kante, though, has been doing this role to perfection.

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The Frenchman has made 3.4 tackles and 1.6 interceptions per game, which adds up to five successful defensive actions in each game. Hence, he has been doing the role of dispossessing the opposition with perfection.

A passing accuracy of 94.1% sees him rank as the best passer in the league if only first-team regulars are taken into account. Only Chris Smalling of Manchester United and Arouna Kone of Everton have a better record but they have less than half of Kante’s minutes on the pitch this season.

It is rare to find a player who excels as a defensive midfielder. If club manages to find one such player, it allows for players to not worry about defending at all times. Chelsea have demonstrated this tendency already with Diego Costa and Eden Hazard tracking back less than they did last season.

Arsene Wenger knows a thing or two about a defensive midfielder being the linchpin of a team. Patrick Vieira was one of the greatest in Arsenal’s history at doing this role to perfection. If Chelsea claims a win on Saturday, Kante is unlikely to be in the headlines. A silent assassin, he never seems to be a headline creator but one can be sure that he would be a major factor if the blues do win at the Emirates.

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