So far this term, Chelsea have performed magnificently to break out from the pack to create an eight point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League.
There are a number of Blues players who have performed well enough to be considered the Player of the Year, but at this point the player who I think is ahead of his teammates and the rest of the division’s players is N’Golo Kanté.
The Frenchman signed for Chelsea from Leicester in the summer for a fee believed to be around £30 million and he has immediately asserted himself as one of, if not the most important player for the Blues.
A few onlookers would have worried how Kanté was going to adapt playing for one of Europe’s biggest clubs, but he has adjusted seamlessly and he has been excellent for his new team all season.
Chelsea did struggle at the start of the season and after consecutive defeats to title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal, Antonio Conte decided to revert to his more favoured 3-4-3 formation.
Playing alongside Nemanja Matić, N’Golo Kanté has flourished in this formation. He has managed to kick on to become an even better player than the one who burst onto the scene for Leicester last season.
He somewhat went under the radar last term compared to Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez but it is clear to see now how important of a player he was to them. Leicester are now floundering around the relegation zone, with their defensive frailties coming to prominence without the protection that Kanté provides.
Arguably Chelsea’s best ever defensive midfielder prior to Kanté’s arrival was fellow Frenchman Claude Makélélé, who has gone down in Chelsea folklore as a great following his five year spell at the London outfit.
But looking at what we have seen from Kanté so far this term, I think he has the potential to surpass his compatriot to become Chelsea’s greatest defensive midfielder of all time.
Kanté is not just the standard defensive midfielder that we have seen many times before. He is not the type of midfielder who looks to sit in the middle of the park and just break up play.
When you watch any game that he has competed in this and last season, you quickly notice that he has regular touches all over the pitch. This high octane and ferocious style of play was key to Leicester’s and is now key to Chelsea’s makeup and is one of the attributes most important to their success.
He is non-stop and unrelenting in his work rate for his team and his tackle and interception record is once again up there with the best in the league. Without Kanté in the team, Chelsea’s forwards would not have anywhere near as many opportunities to hurt their opponents as they do now.
Bringing Kanté to the club was an astute move on Antonio Conte’s part and the midfielder has proved to be the difference between them and all of their competitors in the race for the title.
There is not a player in my view who deserves this accolade any more than Kanté does. For a player in a position that does not get much recognition, this years Player of the Year award would top off what has been a superb two years for the midfielder, who alongside the current crop of players at Chelsea, should only go onto achieve more in the years to come.
Feature Image Credit: @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs) London