Chelsea’s midfield star, N’Golo Kante, has already proven illustrious as a box to box midfielder under the stewardship of Antonio Conte.
However the French international has proved another aspect of his midfield talent in the last few matches emerging as a game-changer.
In fact, his central game-changing role in multiple phases and positions has redefined the likes of Makélélé role into a more technically advanced role – ‘the Kante Role’ when it comes to a modern defensive midfield.
Even Makélélé has acknowledged the ‘Kante Role’: “People talk about the Makélélé position, but I am old and it’s time you called it the Kante position. He deserves that.”
His role and skills has allowed Chelsea to change the flux of their game in their favor during all offensive, transitional and defensive phases.
Offensive advantage of ‘The Kante Role’
One of the major issues Chelsea have been mostly facing with their attacking play is that their forwards tend to lose possession at the end of attacking run due to being multi-pressed.
Kante’s hold-up plays in the final third have empowered Chelsea to retain their possession in that zone longer than they would do otherwise. In other words, as a False 8, Kante would assume the role of Hazard when the Belgian had to drop back to collect the ball.
Kante’s hold-up plays has also enabled Chelsea’s advanced players especially Hazard to smoothly carry on the runs and deliver them successfully even in the more predictable situations.
Kante’s ability to drop into spaces align well with Chelsea’s diamond passing and triangular passing which they follow to get their way up the pitch from the wide lanes.
Due to his False 8 role, the Frenchman can drop anywhere in the deeper lanes to complete such passing structures whenever needed.
This has and will continue to be one of the most wanted remedies in the situations when the Blues face mid to high defence lines from opponents.
Transitional advantage of ‘The Kante Role’
The box-to-box midfielder, often being deployed more in a False 8 role than a traditional holding midfielder, has showed wonderful link-up plays to help his teammates swiftly execute instant attacks and counterattacks during transitions.
The uniqueness of the ‘Kante Role’ in holding-up the play during quick transitions can help Chelsea’s advanced players to even execute their long balls in a more threatening way than they have been currently doing.
The midfielder tend to drop in spaces to keep the attacking runs keep going to the opponent’s box. Also, his impressive work rate allow him to timely chase down his opponents and break the conceding counters within a transitional foray.
Defensive advantage of ‘The Kante Role’
Kante’s box to box defending was the key part of Chelsea’s defence last season especially during transitions.
This season as well as witnessed in the last few fixtures, where the French international has found to play box to box when the situation allowed him. This has been mostly when Chelsea relied on area focused pressing in the wide areas.
The ability to tackle and to drop in to the positions to block the passing routes is the main defensive component of ‘The Kante Role’.
Another defensive element of the ‘Kante Role’ is counter defeating and rechanneling the ball outside the opponent box.
Due to his excellent game reading skills, the French international tends to drop into optimal positions outside the opponent box to stop the already-initiated or potential counters from the opponents.
Written by Farkhanda Jabeen
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