Cesar Azpilicueta said N’Golo Kante’s presence in the second half changed the dynamic of the game in Chelsea’s 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Thomas Tuchel’s decision not to start Kante in the derby certainly surprised many Chelsea fans. Although, he might have wanted to slowly reintegrate the midfielder into the team after an injury spell.
The impact of his absence in the first half, however, was very apparent. Tottenham dominated and won almost twice as many duels (34) as Chelsea’s (18).
Tuchel then decided to deploy Kante and switch the system to a 3-5-2 after the break, and as Azpilicueta pointed out, the energetic midfielder did not disappoint.
“You know, sometimes changes are needed to change the dynamic of the team,” the Spain international told Chelsea TV about Kante’s introduction at half-time.
“N’Golo came in, he brought a different energy. We know how N’Golo is [laugh].
“He scored a goal as well, so we’re very happy, and I think we could’ve scored more goals.”
The 3-5-2 system gives Tuchel, who is known for his tendency to tinker with his tactics, more options going forward, but might not be a viable first-choice formation.
As it stands, Tuchel pretty much has three — or four, including Saul Niguez — midfield options; Kante, Jorginho, and Mateo Kovacic, and starting those three every week certainly does not sound like a good plan.
Not to mention that Chelsea also have many attackers who might not be happy to compete for just two attacking spots in this system.