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Paul Pogba v N'Golo Kante: The key battle when Manchester United host Chelsea
Last Updated: 12/04/17 5:52pm
Two of the most talked about Premier League midfielders go head to head on Sunday, when Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford. But will Paul Pogba or N'Golo Kante come out on top? We take a look at the stats to find out...
It's safe to say N'Golo Kante enjoyed the two Stamford Bridge clashes between Chelsea and Manchester United this season a good deal more than Paul Pogba.
The Blues ace is famous for his ability to destroy opposition attacks but he was also on the scoresheet in both Chelsea's 4-0 Premier League thrashing of United and their 1-0 FA Cup win.
Kante rifled in from 20 yards to seal Chelsea's place in the FA Cup semi-finals last month, while he impressively slalomed into the United penalty area to cap the home side's big league victory in October.
That effort remains Kante's only Premier League goal of the season, despite taking 26 shots.
However, when it comes to hitting the net, the conversion rate of the more attacking Pogba is little better.
Kante's France team-mate has scored just four Premier League goals since his world-record transfer back to Manchester United last season. His low return isn't through a want of trying.
Pogba has fired at goal 88 times. Only six players have taken more shots, while Pogba's 22 shots-per-goal ratio is the worst of any player to have scored at least three times this term.
Most shots in Premier League
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic||Man Utd||115|
|Sergio Aguero||Man City||108|
|Paul Pogba||Man Utd||88|
It should be said that Pogba has had some hard luck, too. Only Kevin De Bruyne has hit the woodwork more often than the United midfielder, while the fact 52 of his efforts have come from outside the box highlights the speculative nature of his strikes.
Hit woodwork - Premier League
|Kevin De Bruyne||Man City||8|
|Paul Pogba||Man Utd||6|
Pogba's return of just three assists is also an underwhelming total but it will still be crucial Kante keeps a close eye on his compatriot at Old Trafford.
United look to Pogba to control their play. Only Liverpool's James Milner has had more touches in the top flight this season, while only De Bruyne has made more passes.
Pogba's involvement - Premier League (Outfield players)
|Passes into final third||333||1st|
No outfield player has made more passes into the final third, either, and the fact Pogba has created 52 chances for his team-mates is a reminder of his attacking threat.
Fortunately for Antonio Conte's Chelsea they boast one of the best defensive midfielders in the country in Kante.
The 26-year-old topped the Premier League tables for tackles and interceptions during Leicester City's title win in 2015/16 and although he's playing for league leaders who enjoy more possession this time around, he's still second for tackles and in the top 15 for interceptions.
Top Premier League tacklers
|Player||Club||Number of tackles|
Kante has been present for 12 of Chelsea's 13 clean sheets this season and will know another on Sunday will help the Blues take a big step towards sealing the Premier League title - especially if he can find a third goal in three games against United.
But to do that he'll have to win his key battle with Pogba.