Alan Smith believes Thomas Tuchel will eventually deploy N’Golo Kante ahead of his favoured midfield pair with the tough run of fixtures on the horizon.

It is fair to say that Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho is currently the primary midfield pairing in Tuchel’s 3-4-3 system.

Both Kovacic and Jorginho have started in all but one of the five games under Tuchel, with the FA Cup win over Barnsley being the only exception.

Tuchel’s bold decision to push Kante and Billy Gilmour aside clearly paid off with four wins in the last five league games.

But former Arsenal striker Smith thinks Tuchel will fall back on Kante to steady the ship when things get rough.

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“I know there are no easy games in the Premier League, but this fairly gentle run has given the new man a chance to pick up some wins while easing his feet under the table,” he wrote in his column for the Evening Standard.

“Perhaps it also allowed him to experiment a bit by pulling Marcos Alonso out of the cold and pairing Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic in central midfield.

“I mean, it would be a little surprising to see Tuchel keep N’Golo Kante on the sidelines for the match away to Atletico Madrid next week or when Manchester United come to town next Sunday.

“Horses for courses. Because of the opposition, we haven’t yet seen all the runners and riders.”

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Chronicle view

The extra defender in Tuchel’s 3-4-3 has certainly helped Kovacic and Jorginho flourish in controlling the midfield.

But Chelsea were always expected to dominate the possession against the last five league opponents as well.

It will not necessarily be the case for the upcoming games against Atletico Madrid, Manchester United, and even Everton.

Tuchel has spoken about how crucial Kante is to his plan, alongside Jorginho and Kovacic — and the France international’s energy will be an important asset when playing against top sides.

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