James Maddison proven wrong about N’Golo Kante as Chelsea star shines in Leicester win



N’Golo Kante took just 28 minutes to prove James Maddison wrong about Wilfried Ndidi, after the Leicester City midfielder claimed Ndidi, Kante’s successor, was superior.

Before the Saturday lunchtime clash between table-toppers Chelsea and the Foxes, the focus was very much on the midfield battle, with Kante and Jorginho up against Ndidi and Boubakary Soumare.

The Jorginho-Kante pivot was the lynchpin of Thomas Tuchel’s team last season, leading them to Champions League glory, and they have started the current campaign in fine fettle once more.

But Maddison believed Ndidi was better than the former Leicester destroyer, despite Kante’s two league titles and World Cup win.

“I think he’s the best in the Premier League at tackling and winning the ball back, bar none,” Maddison told Football Daily in 2020.

“I know [N’Golo] Kante is a brilliant player and there are players like that. But actually winning the ball back and taking the ball off the opposition, I don’t think there is anyone better than Wilfred. Sometimes you get a player like that and what he does doesn’t get on the back page of the papers, doesn’t get talked about on Match of the Day.

“He’s fantastic at what he does and he lets players like me and Youri Tielemans do our thing higher up the pitch because we know we’ve got that solidity behind us.”

Much to Maddison’s embarrassment, however, it took Kante just 28 minutes to show he is still the premier defensive midfielder in the division.

With Chelsea already one goal to the good after Antonio Rudiger’s header, Kante then showed just how good he is with the ball – as well as without it. Receiving the ball from Reece James in the midfield, and with space in front of him to drive into, Kante dribbled forwards with pace, powered to the edge of the penalty area and unleashed a curling left-footed strike into the top corner, past a sprawling Kasper Schmeichel.

It was a part of a top-quality performance by the Frenchman, who dominated Leicester alongside Jorginho.

Ndidi, meanwhile, was unable to slow the onslaught of Chelsea attacks, as the Blues sauntered to an easy victory.

Christian Pulisic added a third in the second half, after Hakim Ziyech twisted his way into space in the penalty area and laid the ball on a plate for the American with a beautiful reverse low cross, Pulisic simply needing to control and nutmeg Schmeichel to score his second goal of the season and his first since the opening day.

Chelsea’s thunderous performance moved them six points clear at the top of the Premier League, with Kante on the hunt for his league title.





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