N’Golo Kante is set to be available for Chelsea once again, giving manager Graham Potter the best kind of headache he can have in terms of selection going forward.
Potter has a very large squad at his disposal right now, which we know can be very good, but it can also be very bad and create many ‘problems’.
the next big selection ‘headache’ Potter has coming is getting N’Golo Kante back in the team. Of course, I don’t expect him to be starting for at least two more games, but he is expected to be back in the squad at least for Everton this weekend and eased back in gradually off the bench.
But once he is back to full match fitness, then comes the ‘problem’.
We have all been speaking about a Kante and Enzo Fernandez double pivot, which admittedly sounds mouth-watering and looks like a dream on paper.
But we must also consider a few aspects here.
Kante has missed A LOT of football, we need to make sure that he can even get back to his best, which I am sure he will. But we will need to see him for a handful of games to assess his overall condition and where he will be once he’s back in terms of form and confidence. Again, I don’t doubt he will be exactly where he was before, but it’s not something anyone can predict and be sure of.
Mateo Kovacic has been playing well, and he is also seemingly the new club captain in the absence of Cesar Azpilicueta and Thiago Silva. So that element might have to come in to play.
Kante also, as we know, loves to roam. He is not a sitter. And Enzo needs the protection of a sitter. Kovacic is also not a sitter, but if you watch the last few games you will see that it is actually Kovacic who has remained as the more deeper player in the pivot.
Can Kante do this? Can he stay disciplined? It would be an insult to Kante to say that he cannot, because that would mean you’re saying that he cannot take instructions. If Potter picks him alongside Enzo, and asks him to be the one who is more disciplined in terms of sitting more, then of course Kante can do that, even though it is natural for him to roam and go hunting for the ball.
At the end of the day though, with a back three and a double pivot ahead of them, you don’t necessarily need to use a sitter and both midfielders can have more freedom to roam, with more bodies behind them. That is a big reason why we are using the back three right now and why it is working so well. So Kante will certainly have more freedom to roam and do what he does best.
Again though, it will be all about building relationships on the pitch, something that Kovacic and Enzo have been doing quite well. It’s about being aware of where your midfield partner is, and if he is going, you stick. It’s something that comes with time.
Kante can be massive for Chelsea in the run in this season, but I also think we might end up seeing him more as a rotation than a regular starter for the rest of this season at least, due to everything I have mentioned above.
I can see him being used in a similar way to how Conor Gallagher is being used right now, bringing him in to shore things up, making the midfield into a three, that sort of thing.
But I’m still excited to see Kante alongside Enzo, and we will see that, and it has the formula to be unplayable.