Jamie Carragher has explained why N’Golo Kante is ‘very average’ under Maurizio Sarri

Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Chelsea suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday afternoon.

The 3-1 loss saw them slip to fourth on the Premier League table and seven points adrift of leaders Manchester City after 12 matches.

However, while the result itself was disappointing, Maurizio Sarri will be more concerned with the manner in which his men were totally outplayed by their hosts.

Spurs dominated from the first whistle to the last and could’ve easily won by more than two goals but for a series of excellent saves from Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The Spaniard made six in total, meaning he was arguably the only Chelsea player worthy of praise by the end of play in north London.

As a collective unit, the Blues looked nothing like the team whose early season form has had them touted as title rivals to City and Liverpool.

Sarri has done very well to mould the squad he inherited into something capable of producing style the football he wants, though it’s far from perfect.

The former Napoli boss brought Jorginho with him to Stamford Bridge with the intention of making him the main man in midfield - a natural role in which he has excelled.

However, the Italy international was the subject of intense criticism for this lack of defensive work versus Spurs.

Huddersfield Town v Chelsea FC - Premier League

Jamie Carragher, though, was quick to offer a counterargument.

"Jorginho will not move from that position," he said on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football, per Goal.

"He is Sarri's man and he has built his system around him.

“[N’Golo] Kante’s not moving because he's signed a massive contract.

"Jorginho has been excellent this season, and teams are having to change their system and style to counteract Jorginho. That shows how good a player he is and how important he has been to Chelsea.”


Instead, Carragher feels the incoherence that occasionally hurts the Blues’ midfield stems from Sarri instructing Kante to play in a less effective position.

He described Kante - who was deployed in a more advanced role on the right of a midfield three - as “a very average player in the position he's playing in now.”


The former Liverpool defender added:

“I just see a normal midfield player. When he plays deeper I see someone who is world class.

"What do you do as a manager? For me, I don't ever think this balance of the midfield looks right with [Mateo] Kovacic in there.

"It's quite simple, and I'm not sure if Sarri is stuck on 4-3-3, but play them as a midfield two.

"Play Barkley or Willian in the No.10 role, so it's more of a 4-2-3-1.”

It’s difficult to suggest Kante has been as influential as in each of his three other seasons in England.

For a man who won Chelsea’s Player of the Year last term, there’s no question the plaudits aren’t coming his with the regularity they have in the past.

What do you make of Kante's role under Sarri? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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