Former Chelsea goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, has spoken out about midfielder N’Golo Kante’s performance in the Blues’ recent 3-1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. The Frenchman was on the pitch for the full 90 minutes, but could not prevent Frank Lampard’s team from experiencing their sixth consecutive defeat under their former Everton boss.
Kante, who has struggled with injuries throughout the season, has made only six appearances in the Premier League so far. However, in the games where he has featured, the France World Cup winner has shown himself to be among the best performers in the Chelsea squad.
“Let’s not forget, this was Kante’s sixth start of the season,” Schwarzer told the BBC. “He looked off in terms of his touch. His passing wasn’t on it. The effort was there, but this wasn’t the Kante we’ve seen over the years.”
Schwarzer went on to express his disappointment at Chelsea’s overall performance this season, adding that the team has not lived up to its usual standards.
“There are big names in the Chelsea team, but they have had a dreadful season by Chelsea standards,” he said.
The defeat to Arsenal leaves Chelsea in 10th place in the Premier League table, with just 22 points from their first 15 games. Lampard’s side is now 11 points adrift of league leaders Liverpool and has won just one of their last six games in all competitions.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s victory saw them return to the top of the Premier League table, ahead of Manchester City’s game against West Ham United on Wednesday. Goals from Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus ensured that the Gunners bounced back from their 4-1 defeat to City last week.
Despite the defeat, Lampard remained upbeat about his team’s performance, highlighting their attacking intent and willingness to take risks.
“I thought we played some really good stuff,” he said. “We had some big chances and, at 2-1, we were right in the game. We were trying to push to get the equalizer, but it just wasn’t to be.”
Lampard also spoke about the difficulties his team has faced this season, including injuries to key players such as Kante and Christian Pulisic.
“We’ve had injuries, we’ve had a lot of games, we’ve had to change the team around,” he said. “But that’s not an excuse. We’re Chelsea, we have to deal with those challenges and come through them.”
The defeat to Arsenal will undoubtedly be a blow to Chelsea’s hopes of a top-four finish this season. However, with half of the season still to play, Lampard will be hoping that his team can turn their fortunes around and make a late push for Champions League qualification.