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N'Golo Kanté vs. Ivory Coast: Chelsea dynamo plays Paul Pogba off the park


Now, obviously, you'll say something like, Pogba and Kanté are not the same type of player! And of course you'd be right. In theory, Kanté and Pogba would form two-thirds of the world's greatest midfield. In practice, as France found out last night, that's not quite possible this season thanks largely to the world record signing's indifferent form at Manchester United.

But enough about the poor unfortunate Mr. Pogba; let's talk about the great and prosperous N'Golo Kanté. While Kanté did play the full 90 against Sweden on Tuesday — not ideal — at least he continued his stellar club form at the international level, too. And that's a heartening sight for anyone like me concerned about Chelsea's ability to pick right back up where we left off against Everton 10 days ago.

We're not the only ones in awe of Kanté, by the way. France head coach Didier Deschamp reckons that Kanté has "gone up a level" since joining Chelsea, while his stats from the 0-0 draw against Ivory Coast had the Twitter-machines working overtime.

Here, there, everywhere: 122 touches, 95% pass completion, 13 duels, 6 tackles, 8 interceptions. Playing parts of the game in a three-man, then other parts in a two-man midfield, Kanté came away disappointed not to get the win, but was also already firmly focused back on the task at hand with Chelsea.

The French media were mincing no words.

France Football rated Kanté a 7, Pogba a 3. Le Figaro called the Chelsea man omnipresent. Eurosport went for the poetic oasis in the desert analogy. The only knock against Kanté was that his performance dropped a bit in the second half.

I'd like to think he was just saving himself for more important things.

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