N’Golo Kante: How Graham Potter’s Chelsea Could Line Up as Key Midfielder Returns

N’Golo Kante: How Graham Potter’s Chelsea Could Line Up as Key Midfielder Returns

Martin Moses
March 22, 2023 at 11:31 AM
  • N'Golo Kante is expected back for Chelsea after the international break
  • The French star has been nursing a hamstring injury since last August
  • His return gives Graham Potter a wide range of options in the midfield

There is no doubt that N'Golo Kante's return to full fitness is set to be a timely boost to Graham Potter.

The midfielder was named on the matchday squad for the first time since August in Chelsea's frustrating draw against Everton over the weekend.

N'Golo Kante, Chelsea, Graham Potter, Enzo Fernandez, Mateo Kovacic
N’Golo Kante warms up ahead of Chelsea's clash against Everton on March 18. Photo by James Williamson - AMA.
Source: Getty Images

Kante is yet to play under Potter and the Englishman would likely be relishing the opportunity of using the dynamic midfielder.

The French star is expected to step up his fitness with a series of friendlies during the international break before Chelsea face Aston Villa on April 1.

Exciting feature: Check out news exactly for YOU ➡️ click on "Recommended for you" and enjoy!

However, the World Cup-winning midfielder returns to a much-changed dressing room after the Blues' crazy spending spree.

He will be expected to fight for his place in the starting eleven as much as everyone else, but that should be an as easy task if he picks up from where he left off.

Potter's double pivot

Potter has adopted a back-three formation that has seen him embark on an unbeaten four-game run. The formation uses a double pivot of January arrival, Enzo Fernandez and Mateo Kovacic. With Kante's return, Potter will have a few options.

The Frenchman's main strength remains his ability to untiringly cover every blade of grass on the pitch.

The most feasible idea will be to pair him with Fernandez. The Argentine has settled in well on the side and adding the wealth of experience that is Kante could do wonders.

Potter might also opt to play Kante slightly ahead of Kovacic and Fernandez. Kovacic is arguably the best ball carrier at the club and putting Kante ahead of him gives him an opportunity to roam forward.

Midfield three for Chelsea?

A compact midfield three could be the way to go when they face the big guns this season. A fit Kante would definitely go toe to toe with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and Aurelien Tchouameni when Chelsea play Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

The French midfielder's return also gives the Blues' marauding full-backs, Reece James and Ben Chilwell the license to roam forward. Kante has always been adept at breaking opposition play, and James and Chilwell could contribute offensively without having to worry about defensive cover.

With Chelsea wallowing in 10th, their main route to European football is through the Champions League. Just like Potter, many fans will be hoping that their midfield maestro can breathe a fresh lease of life into a side that has struggled this season.

Mount's uncertain future

Even as Kante returns, Sports Brief reported Chelsea are said to be interested in former Manchester United midfielder, Andreas Pereira to replace Mason Mount.

With just one year left on his contract at the end of the season, Mount is staring at an uncertain future at Stamford Bridge and is yet to agree to a new deal.

Chelsea may well be looking to cash in on the English midfielder in the summer transfer window rather than losing him on a free transfer in the next year.

Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Editor- EPL I Serie A
Graham PotterUEFA Champions League