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Try It Conte – This Tried And Tested Midfield Partnership Can Massively Revamp Chelsea’s Performances

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Why N’golo Kante and Danny Drinkwater’s Midfield Partnership Can Revamp Chelsea’s Performances

Chelsea supporters were subjected to flashes of a revival, with two straight wins, and their quest to do better will certainly be amplified by the news of midfielder N’Golo Kante having returned to full training. He was forced off due to a hamstring injury while on international duty earlier this month, and his absence has been quite palpable in the Chelsea squad.

Even in their title-winning season last time, Kante was key to most of their good fortunes. Without Kante guarding the defence, the Blues have been struggling at the back even though they have seasoned players like David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill at the back. Tiemoue Bakayoko and Cesc Fabregas have been struggling to maintain control in the midfield, which has often presented easy opportunities to the opposition to capitalise.

After the 2-1 defeat at Selhurst Park, the vital importance of Kante to Antonio Conte’s 3-4-3 setup became clear. For Chelsea’s game against Roma in the Champions League, Conte tweaked his formation, fielding the 21-year old Andreas Christensen in the middle of his back three and deploying Luiz as a defensive midfielder. It did seem to work initially as the Blues took a 2-0 lead, but Kante’s influence was missed as Roma mercilessly exposed Chelsea’s defensive fragility and battled back to lead 3-2, following which the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

Danny Drinkwater

Their previous two matches have been encouraging, however, and this time it was Danny Drinkwater’s presence in the starting XI that made an impact. The player was sidelined with an injury since joining Chelsea but he is living up to his billing now. It is extremely interesting to think of a partnership between Kante and Drinkwater, who are former Leicester City teammates.

The fact is that even when the Foxes won the Premier League, Kante and Drinkwater’s midfield partnership was quite essential. While Kante provides a cutting edge, Drinkwater’s cohesion and reading of the game remain unparalleled. Whether or not the duo features against Roma or Manchester United – their next two opponents, remains to be seen.

It’ll be interesting to see how Conte prioritises these fixtures in respect of team selection, but moving forward, the former Leicester duo will most certainly play an important part in the Chelsea manager’s plans. They have worked together extremely well in the past and that will come as a comfort to the under-performing Chelsea defence.