He is a hooligan, stealing the ball from kids in the street: why N’Golo Kanté became the best football player of the EPL

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N'Golo Kanté became the best football player of the EPL

N’Golo
Kanté who looks like the ordinary boy having 169 cm, is spending his
second season but the award has found the hero only now. The
professional football association of football players recognized
Kanté to be the best football player of the Premier League though we
knew about it much earlier. Last summer many asked a question, how
well will he manage to spend the second season in England and in club
of a higher class than Leicester. But the Frenchman could play even
better, having finally proved his talent.

To
win such an award to the center midfielder is very difficult, as
usually the attacking players get all the tasty cake. Last time this
award was given not to the forward in a season 2008/09 when Ryan
Giggs had spent the outstanding championship with Manchester United.
In the 21st century John Terry (04/05) and Steven Gerrard (05/06)
became the best players. In all other seasons the award was given
only to leaders of the attacks and that isn’t always fair. Therefore
it’s getting more and more surprising that such kid and shy person
had achieved worldwide recognition, as it is necessary to demonstrate
absolutely outstanding football. And Kanté is good at it. The most
remarkable thing is that his game manner is very simple, but it is so
delightful. Sometimes everything comes to him so easily that people
even say that time to time, when he is free from playing football, he
saves the world as a superman.

“Actually,
my life is the same, as in France. I play football and then I go
home. Next day is a football training, the house, rest, and so I go
round in circles”, – N’Golo admits. Modesty and simplicity of
this man only improves his game when he imperturbably steals the ball
from all stars of the English Premier League. It looks so as if “the
hooligan steals the ball from helpless kids in the street”, –
Brian Read, the journalist of Daily Mirror finds such comparison.
Kanté ‘s performance surprises all that even Eden Hazard after the
match with Arsenal admitted that “in the field there are two
twin brothers Kanté who are just everywhere”. There is also a
belief that if Kanté ‘s team owns a ball about 80% of time, he will
begin to steal the ball from his partners. Restless man.

Where Kanté is – there is a victory

Where
Kanté is – there is a victory. It is possible to say so after two
champion’s titles in a row (well, almost two) of his teams in the
EPL. For two seasons with Leicester and Chelsea of Kanté has lost
only 8 matches that it is less, than at any teams of England for the
same period of time. Last season Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez got all
the main awards, but only the current campaign showed how important
Kanté ‘s personality is. Without him all structure of Leicester had
broken, but became monolithic at Chelsea. This is a true art – to
steal and intercept balls, to foresee each movement of the opponent,
to feel any danger and to prevent it in due time. It would seem to be
so easy but nobody is able to cope with these tasks as Kanté does.

Updates
of statistical data after each EPL round impress more and more. Now
we are reading with a great delight about ten stolen balls by small
Frenchman in one match, and with smaller interest we calculate how
many groundmoves in 90 minutes Eden Hazard or Alexis Sánchеz have
made. We have already got used to thee deeds of forwards, but to
enjoy a defensive play of the center midfielder is still a rare
pleasure. Kanté became the real embodiment of philosophy of Antonio
Conte in which tactical literacy, pragmatism, and organized nature of
game dominates. The probable victory of Chelsea in the EPL is built
on these principles therefore such player as Kanté, but not Azar,
Ibrahimovic or other worthy forwards can become the best player.

N'Golo began to play

Little
N’Golo this season had added in many components though it seemed that
nobody expect anything more from him. Antonio Conte noted more than
once that Kanté too often plays using simple cross-field balls, and
they slow down the attacks. Really, it was very noticeable in
Leicester when after the tacking regularly goes the pass to the
closest partner though it was possible to play more risky. That is
why in Chelsea they demand something different from him – both
development of the attacks with vertical passes, and movements
forward. The Frenchman quickly understood everything and is following
instructions of the coach.

And
now N’Golo began to play the attack more often – the quantity of
short passes averages to 38,9 for a match against 24,49 earlier
though by the created chances in Leicester the situation was a little
bit better (0,81), than now (0,62). He started to play long balls,
making about 4-5 exact distant passes for a match, and in Leicester
there were less than 2; he began to shoot more at the goal (0,84
against 0,57), and also the accuracy of shots (41% for 28%) has
improved. Surprisingly, but as for the defensive actions, statistics
worsened in comparison with last season. It concerns: tackling (3,4,
was 4,7), intercepts (2,41, was 4,22), blocking of shots (0,12, was
0,30), quantity of fouls (1,6, was 1,2). Concerning the time when he
was playing with Leicester the figures became worse but they are
still the best among all holding and center midfielders of the
current season.

The
demonstration of the fact how often Kanté began to play vertically
short and long passes doesn’t slow down the attack of team any more,
and only contributes to its fast development.

“To
become an excellent player, he needs only the skills of the leader”,
– Claude Makelele admits. Really, there are no limits to perfection
therefore Kanté still can develop as in respect of game skills and
character. He is very kind and shy man. He never complains at all,
neither of referees, nor of partners or anybody at all, but honestly
does what he has to do. But he listens to all, especially to the
coach and absorbs everything in order to study and progress. Antonio
Conte has already helped him to become better with the ball and he is
much more effective now and he will teach him to demonstrate his
leadership skills on the field. Then Kanté will surely become the
excellent player, though even without them he doesn’t cease to
surprise all, working for himself and for that man.

Read also: Francesco Baranca: at least five “strange” matches are played in Spain in each football round

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