French midfielder grew into the game helping to vindicate Maurizio Sarri’s decision to play him in right-sided role
How do you solve a problem like N’Golo? On the evidence of a bruising, thrilling night at Stamford Bridge, Maurizio Sarri’s attempts to transform the best covering midfielder in the world into a withdrawn right-sider may or may not succeed. But it won’t be for want of manically committed effort from the man himself, who provided a lesson in making a plan work, even when that plan seems to push you to the fringes.
For the opening 44 minutes of this 2-0 Chelsea win Manchester City had eased around like a swarm of blue-shirted princelings, scything through what was once Kanté country. Just past the half hour there was a beautiful moment as Riyad Mahrez walked one way in the centre circle, then shuffled back the other, making Antonio Rüdiger hare off into the wrong movie set, a man suddenly speaking the wrong lines and dancing the wrong steps.