Next in the long line to heap praise upon N’Golo Kanté is Chelsea teammate and all-around opposite personality David Luiz, talking to French media after Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth yesterday.
“Everyone has to understand that he is a great player, a good person. May he continue like that. Everyone knows him a little bit, he is someone with a heart totally different from everyone else. He’s a golden person, a great friend. We laugh every day together because it’s great to have a player like him.”
-David Luiz; source: RMC Sport via Google Translate
As wonderful as Kanté’s personality, attitude, and demeanor may be, his play on the pitch is even more lovely, especially when he’s covering for David Luiz’s mistake. Here’s Kanté making a 50-yard recovery run to clear the danger in the first-half of yesterday’s game.
It’s plays like that, which have made Kanté absolutely indispensable and central to all of Chelsea’s successes in the last two seasons. It’s also why Sarri has been questioned a bit — not much, since Chelsea do have four wins from four, but just a bit — about moving Kanté from that central role to the right side in favor of Jorginho, who’s obviously an excellent player but will never make that run to cover up a David Luiz Headrush™.
But as Kanté becomes more familiar and more comfortable with his new role, he can continue fulfilling some of his older duties as well. While Sarri’s system is predicated on defending from the front and high pressing, as that play above shows, having a player who can make up for others’ mistakes is priceless as well.
“It’s a new coach, a new system. Today we play in 4-3-3, the coach makes me play higher in 8, so in transition, I try to combine with the defenders and Jorginho and find the attackers.
”I’m happy with this position. It takes time, training for everything [to get] assimilated, but I think it’s going in the right direction. With this team, we get to play well.”
Indeed with maximum points and a perfect record, second place in the table and the second most goals scored, things are going in the right direction. Sarri warned that it will take 2-3 months to get everything clicking, especially on the defensive end, but so far so good.
“All in all it’s a good start. Four games, four wins. That’s what we wanted, to start well before the break and get as many points as possible before September...”
-N’Golo Kanté; source: RMC Sport via Google Translate
Kanté has won a trophy in each of his three seasons in England, twice the league and once the FA Cup. Can he make it four from four? We wouldn’t bet against it.