It is worth noting first that Kante plays in a more possession-based team than Ndidi, and so naturally, he has less defensive work to do than the Nigerian. Ndidi doesn’t play for relegation fodder either, as his team has averaged 54 percent possession since the start of last season, compared to Kante’s 58 percent. Ndidi plays for a Premier League side that presses a lot, and he’s therefore no stranger to team that requires its players keep up a high work rate. He doesn’t allow opponents time on the ball, either.
Leicester finished second last season in percentage of successful pressures at 52.2 percent. Ndidi was a key part of that, as he not only topped the pressures chart for Leicester, but also the successful pressures chart overall. In addition, he topped the pressures per game chart and successful pressures per 90 chart for Leicester players that played up to 19 league games. That is incredible for a player who played as a lone defensive midfielder for most of the season. This season, Ndidi has remained consistent, ranking second in pressures per 90 amongst players with at least 15 appearances and has ranked highest for successful pressures.
Compared to Chelsea’s Kante, Ndidi has averaged 22.3 pressures per 90 since the beginning of last season, recording 7.8 successful pressures per 90 on average in that time. Meanwhile, Kante has averaged 21 pressures per 90 and succeeded in 7.1. Yes, Kante has a lot less to do than Ndidi because he plays in a more possession-based side than the Nigerian, but the successful pressures indicate that Ndidi is superb in the pressing department regardless of playing style. The two teams have averaged a 31 percent successful pressure percentage though, so they’re equally impactful in denying opponents time and space.
Ndidi fits well into part of what Tuchel is trying to achieve at Chelsea: a high-pressing style of play, as well as winning the ball back as soon as it’s lost. Ndidi has an incredibly high work rate. He very much looks to recover the ball—either by tackling, interceptions or recoveries—and lay it off to more well-positioned players to start attacks. Ndidi often looks to play the ball in behind the opposition’s defense if he sees such an opportunity. He made one such pass against Liverpool to Harvey Barnes for the third goal to pile more misery on the Champions. He made another such pass against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarterfinal match. In other words, Ndidi is a very tidy player.