Maurizio Sarri may have inherited the best defensive midfielder in the world when he joined Chelsea. However, it appears that the Italian is trying to turn that man into an attacking threat this season as well.
N’Golo Kante Has A New Attacking Role
That man is N’Golo Kante. The midfielder has been lauded for his defensive ability and has been an influential member of the squad wherever he has been. He helped Leicester City and Chelsea lift Premier League trophies, whilst he was key to France’s crowning as World Champions at the World Cup.
And, it appears that Sarri wants to make the 27-year-old an even better player; by making him play further forward.
Kante would have been the man to sit in front of the defence and ensure they are rarely tested over the 90 minutes. But he appears to have lost that role to Jorginho this season after he followed Sarri from Napoli.
Kante Goes From Defence to Attack
The defensive midfielder is far too good to be left out of the team and be replaced. So what did Sarri do? He changed his position and Chelsea have benefited from it already.
The Frenchman has already appeared to have taken to the attacking role as well as initially could have been hoped for.
Notably, he netted in their first match of the season against Huddersfield Town with a volley from inside the box. Admittedly, it was not the cleanest of strikes, but a goal is a goal.
It matched his tally for last season and Kante will now be looking to double it, if not get a few more.
Against Arsenal, he found himself further forward more often than not, giving the Gunners an extra man in the box to defend.
Kante Playing Further Forward Has Its Limitations
There is no doubt that Kante is not the complete midfielder yet and his defensive abilities outshine those of his attacking attributes.
However, with time and practice, he could be able to improve on the shooting and composure aspect and turn himself into a confident attacking threat.
There are concerns that the move will not work in the long-term and there was evidence to support that view against Arsenal.
The absence of the World Cup winner in front of the defence means there is a large gap that will allow Premier League sides to exploit.
Sarri’s Problem, Not Kante’s
They, however, should not be Kante’s concerns, but those of Sarri and he will need to address those should the Blues want to maintain their solid start to the season.