Antonio Conte’s midfield headache: Who starts alongside N’Golo Kante?


Chelsea’s squad has taken its shape after the close of the transfer window last week. Several players moved out with a number of players also arriving.

Many young stars moved out of the club either on loan or permanently while some key players also moved out most notably Nemanja Matic. The Serbian midfielder was sold to Manchester United giving Chelsea problems in replacing him.

His qualities were very much utilized by Antonio Conte en route to Chelsea title triumph last season and his departure created a vacuum, yet to adequately replaced by performances of new midfield arrivals.

The Blues brought in Tiemoue Bakayoko from Monaco, signed Danny Drinkwater on transfer deadline day while keeping Cesc Fabregas beyond the summer.

Spoilt for midfield options now, Conte will have to put up a fine partnership this season against  Premier League opposition, but we all know N’Golo Kante is a starter at Chelsea, don’t we?

The question is, who starts alongside Kante?

The French midfielder is one of the first names on Conte’s team sheets every match day due to his enterprising displays. His work rate and quality in the middle of the park is almost unprecedented anywhere in the Premier League.

The diminutive midfielder does everything a midfielder needs to in a world class team. He tackles, intercepts greatly and has a good passing range in his locker. His ability in midfield helped Leicester City and Chelsea to top flight title triumph in two consecutive seasons and will continue to start in the Blues team this season. But who is his best partner? Let’s weigh the options.

Cesc Fabregas

The most experienced of the midfield quartet, Fabregas brings unto the table a wealth of Premier League know-how and array of weapons in his arsenal.

He adds a different dimension to Conte’s midfield with his long range forward passes and the team would need his services to unlock stubborn defenses while Kante does his usual job of tidying up in midfield.

Fabregas has added a bit of defensive qualities to his already much acclaimed talent and is set to be trusted by the Italian manager this season.

Danny Drinkwater

A bit like Fabregas, Drinkwater is more forward thinking than Kante and would offer something similar to what the Spanish midfielder brings into the side.

Drinkwater is a mercurial talent though, as he couples his attacking attributes with some decent defensive ones. The England international was signed from Leicester this summer and is seen as better replacement for Matic than most of his rivals for the spot.

It was his partnership with Kante that helped the Foxes bully midfielders in their 2016 Premier League title winning campaign. Their combination was hailed by most in England but after Chelsea split them with the summer buy of Kante, Drinkwater struggled the following season.

His arrival could spell another great partnership starting with their return to the King Power stadium.

Tiemoue Bakayoko

The battling 23-year old showed more than promising talent last season with Monaco after the French giants moved within touching distance of making the Champions League final. His all action displays puts him in hot contention to start games under Conte who prefers plays with such qualities.

Bakayoko has already featured twice for Chelsea since the start of the season and will hope for more minutes in his maiden Premier League campaign.

Who starts for Chelsea if Conte sticks with his famous 3-4-3 system this season? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments section below.