'Infectious': Andy Townsend says 30-year-old is the 'trigger' for Chelsea without possession

Andy Townsend has identified N’Golo Kante as the switch that turns Chelsea on when they’re harrying and hassling opponents.

Speaking on Premier League Productions, Townsend described Kante as the spark that sets off his teammates when they are out of possession.

A prime example of pushing the big blue N’Golo button occurred at the weekend against Tottenham Hotspur.

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Drawing 0-0 at half-time, Thomas Tuchel knew he needed to turn the tie around.

An obvious change would have been to throw on another attacker and go hell for leather.

However, Tuchel thought outside the box (literally), switching Mason Mount for the Frenchman instead.

As it panned out, the German’s tactical tweak was spot on.

Kante’s entrance allowed Chelsea to press high and pen Tottenham in a corner.

Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

3-0 the final score finished, mainly thanks to the mini-midfielder’s mighty presence.

Kante cannon

“When he does this, it’s infectious,” said Townsend, highlighting Kante’s impact on the Spurs success.  

“What he’s always done so well, whether it’s playing for his national team, in the blue of Chelsea or even in a Leicester shirt, is being a kind of trigger.

“He’s the trigger man for all that kind of stuff that happens.

“Whenever he’s hunting people, the rest of the team follow him.”

Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

And why wouldn’t you follow Kante into battle? He usually emerges as the conqueror.

Often doing the work of two men, the 30-year-old has a sixth sense for sniffing out danger.

Swift in mind and bottomless in lung, he’s able to divert trouble before it has even begun.

How long Kante can keep this incredible skill is another matter.

Age aside, injuries have started to creep into the Parisian’s game, possibly a result of running himself into the ground season after season.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Perhaps playing further forward, as he did in the Tottenham triumph, might add a few more miles to his tank.

But let’s not focus on the future for now.

Instead, let’s enjoy Kante while he’s still crusading across the footballing seas, pillaging rivals for treasure.  

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.