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The Chalkboard: N’Golo Kante injury opens to door for Kovacic and Barkley to start

Ross Barkley off, Mateo Kovacic on.

It is a personnel change that Chelsea fans have had to witness all too often this season under Maurizio Sarri.

As of early February, the former Napoli boss had used a substitute 19 times to put the Croatian on for the former Everton man, or vice versa; truly baffling.

What is most annoying about the consistency of the switch is that the two players are extremely alike in style, so nothing really changes on the pitch when Sarri makes his predictable change.

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However, following the news that N’Golo Kante looks set to miss the Europa League final against Arsenal on Wednesday, the Blues may be forced to play the two midfielders together from the beginning.

Now, not only will this issue rob Chelsea of one of their best players, but it will mean that the west Londoners will be looking extremely flat in midfield.

The most likely trio will be Jorginho, Barkley and Kovacic, all of whom lack the intensity to press the opposition high up the field like Kante does.

Against players such as Lucas Torreira and Mesut Ozil in the Arsenal lineup, this could be a worry for Chelsea.

First of all, Torreira will definitely be pressing the Blues’ players at every opportunity he gets, which will make life hard for Sarri’s men if they do not have their own presser available.

Secondly, we all know how dangerous a player of Ozil’s calibre can be if he is given time on the ball.

The German No.10, in behind marksmen of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s quality, should be reason enough for Chelsea to fear Arsenal without a harrying presence such as Kante.

Sarri clearly loves to swap Barkley and Kovacic around in the latter stages of matches, but being forced to start them alongside each other could play right into Arsenal’s hands.

Article title: The Chalkboard: N’Golo Kante injury opens to door for Kovacic and Barkley to start

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