Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is currently in his second full season with the club after signing from Leicester City.
After winning his first English Premier League title during the 2015/2016 campaign with The Foxes, Kante moved to Stamford Bridge for £32 million in July 2016, where he would go on to win a second league title during his debut season with The Blues. Kante also lifted the PFA Player of the Year award for the 2016/2017 campaign.
Kante’s exit from the King Power Stadium left a massive void in the Leicester City midfield, with the club going on to win just five of their opening 25 league games in the following season.
Leicester City eventually found the man to replace him, Nigerian international Wilfred Ndidi, who arrived in the East Midlands for a £17 million fee from Belgian side Genk. Since making his debut last January, Ndidi has featured 47 times for Leicester City, with The Foxes winning 48.9% of their matches in all competitions when the midfielder has featured.
Ahead of Chelsea’s clash with Leicester City in South West London on Saturday, we look at how these two Foxes of past and present have compared in the league this season.
Ndidi has featured in all 22 of his side’s league matches in the current campaign, whilst Kante has played in only 19 of Chelsea’s league fixtures; his three absences were due to a thigh injury he suffered whilst on international duty with France in October.
Unlike his Nigerian counterpart, Kante has scored this season, coincidentally against Leicester City in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over The Foxes in September; even though Ndidi has averaged 0.3 more shots a game than Kante has.
Kante is yet to provide an assist for his side, whilst Ndidi has three to his name, which have been against Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United. Despite his lack of assists, Kante has completed 88.5% of his passes in the league this season, whilst Ndidi has only managed a success rate of 75.3%.
In the air, Ndidi has been much more of a presence than Kante has, winning an average of 3.2 aerial duels per match, compared to Kante’s average of one aerial win every two matches.
The Nigerian has been less disciplined than the two-time English Premier League winner, with three yellow cards to his name, as opposed to Kante’s one. Ndidi received two bookings in the same game against Crystal Palace last month; his second yellow was for simulation and it was probably not the way that the player would have wanted to spend his 21st birthday, especially as his side lost 3-0 at home to The Eagles.
After scoring on his return to the King Power in September, Kante was named as the Man of the Match, an achievement that Ndidi has been unable to manage so far this season.
On average, the Nigerian has scored a very respectable 7.07/10 in the league this season, whilst Kante’s rating of 7.34/10 for the campaign makes him currently the 15th best player in the division this season.
Which one of these two box-to-box midfielders will come out on top at Stamford Bridge at the weekend?
By Jonty Colman