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N'Golo Kanté or Claude Makélélé? Stats answer the BIG question - who's better?Stat Attack | Posted on Wednesday, January 11 2017 by Russell Cane
It's the most discussed comparison in world football - is N'Golo Kanté better than Claude Makélélé? Well, we finally have the answer thanks to our exclusive stats at daily Fantasy Football game Oulala.com.
Nemanja Matic spoke of his admiration for his new Chelsea teammate at the beginning of the season. When asked how Kanté compared to former Blues midfielder Makélélé, the Serb replied 'I think he is better than him'.
While when posed the same question 'Is he better than you?' Makélélé himself responded 'I don't know.'
When the Premier League began in 1992/93, only a basic level of match data was gathered. Since 2006/07 a wider range of statistics are now available.
Using Premier League player performance data dating back to August 2006, at Oulala.com we compared Makélélé's stats from his final two seasons at Chelsea against Kanté's first two in English football's top flight.
As defensive midfielders, our focus aimed primarily at tackling, defending and passing.
Our stats show that in 47 Premier League appearances in 2006/07 and 2007/08, Makélélé completed a total of 2,240 successful passes, an average of 48 per game.
In contrast, Kanté has completed 2,216 successful passes in 56 appearances since arriving on English soil in 2015, an average of 40 per match.
So Makélélé takes the passing plaudits, but what about tackling?
Kanté leads for successful tackles having won 160 in spells at Leicester City and Chelsea, an average of 2.9 per game. Makélélé (114) averaged 2.4 per match from 2006 to 2008.
Moving onto interceptions and Kanté leads once more having made more than three times the number of interceptions than Makélélé managed. The current Chelsea midfielder has registered a total of 206 during his time in the Premier League, an average of 3.7 per game. In comparison, Makélélé made only 55 in his last 47 appearances for the Blues, just 1.2 per match.
The number of blocks both players have each recorded is low. However, Kanté's figure is narrowly superior at an average of 0.2 per game to Makélélé's 0.1.
The stats go on to show that Makélélé claws one area back in the form of clearances. The retired star made 99 in his final two seasons at Chelsea, an average of 2.1 per game. While Kanté has made 89 clearances in 56 Premier League appearances, an average of 1.6 per match.
With defensive-minded midfielders liable to concede set-pieces, the final area we focused on was fouls committed. The stats show Kanté is the player you'd rather have in your side, conceding fewer than Makélélé's average per game.
Kanté's total of 67 fouls committed have come at an average of 1.2 per match, while Makélélé (54) conceded slightly more, an average of 1.4.
Final verdict: N'Golo Kanté leads Claude Makélélé in four of the six key areas analysed. Is it time for the football world to rename it 'The Kanté Role'?
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