In her latest blog for the official Chelsea website, season ticket holder Hannah Kurzawski pays tribute to our midfield maestro N'Golo Kante...
While Monday’s brilliant win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge was all about Eden Hazard, which is not surprising after that superb first goal, an unsung hero amongst the Chelsea ranks reached a big milestone recently. The occasion passed by quietly, with no fuss, mere business as usual – just like the man in question himself.
N’Golo Kante made his 101st Premier League appearance in a Chelsea shirt on Monday night, having reached the 100 milestone against Brighton a few days prior. Since signing for the Blues at the start of the 2016-2017 season, he has provided five goals, six assists, 6195 passes, 307 tackles, 206 interceptions, 71 clearances and 811 recoveries, and that’s just in Premier League games alone.
Three of those league goals have come this season, against Huddersfield, Manchester City and Crystal Palace. Every time Kante has found the back of the net in his time at Chelsea so far, the Blues have gone on to win - a record which applies across all competitions.
We have become accustomed to Kante’s hard-working and reliable style of play, with the Frenchman notably putting in a shift in every performance. His ability to win back the ball and regain possession has been frustrating those who play against him for seasons, and his unlimited energy levels seem akin to those of an marathon runner.
Often likened to former Blue Claude Makelele, in terms of his style of play and holding midfielder role, it’s been joked that while 71 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered by water, the rest is covered by N’Golo Kante.
Kante had an immediate impact at Stamford Bridge after arriving from Leicester and became the first player to win consecutive Premier League titles with two different clubs.
In 2017 Kante was named the PFA Players' Player of the Year, the FWA Footballer of the Year, the Chelsea Players’ Player of the Year, the Premier League Player of the Season, and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or. In 2018, the midfielder was named Chelsea Player of the Year, he won the FA Cup with the Blues and the World Cup with France. Earlier this year, Kante was named in the EA Sports FIFA 19 Team of the Year.
Of the seven goals N’Golo Kante has treated us to in his time at Chelsea so far, my favourite has to be his low, bottom left-hand corner strike which knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, in a fiery game at Stamford Bridge which took the Blues to our 22nd FA Cup semi-final. Kante’s most recent goal was in January this year, in the Carabao Cup semi-final against Spurs, cancelling out the 1-0 deficit from the first leg at Wembley. Kante doesn’t score often, but when he does, his goals are vital.
Congratulations on reaching 100 League appearances for Chelsea, N’Golo, here’s hoping for many, many more!