N’Golo Kanté is back, and fully over the ankle issue that’s been bothering him since the start of the season. That’s great news for us and bad news for the rest of the league.
Though he didn’t start yesterday’s derby against Spurs — possibly because Tuchel had been expecting Spurs to defend deep and counter rather than press high — he came on half-time to change the game, and even score the goal to make it 2-0 and settle the outcome. It was his first appearance since before the international break.
“I am feeling better. I think we managed the injury very well. I took time to come onto the pitch and I am happy to be back and I felt very good.”
There was a time when we assumed Kanté was indestructible. We’ve now figured out that isn’t quite the case, and have learned (are still learning) that he must be protected. He himself has seemingly learned (is still learning) that as well. (The jury’s still out on France coach Didier Deschamps though.)
In any case, with 45 minutes under his belt, he should be ready for deployment against Manchester City next weekend — either in a two- or three-man midfield. The head coach has been pressing all the right buttons, and the squad’s confidence just keeps growing with each win.
“We received good advice from the manager at half-time, who told us to win more duels and play with more force. We had a super second half.
“Last year gave us a lot of confidence but we know nothing is going to be easy and we need to work hard and work together. It is important that we started well this season but there are many important games and we need to carry on.”
-N’Golo Kanté; source: Chelsea FC
Don’t let NG’s adorableness fool you. He’s a relentless winning machine. And we’re going to need him in what’s already looking like an intense title race.