Leicester City legend Matt Elliott feels the threat posed by Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday would have been “snuffed out” had N’Golo Kante still been at the King Power Stadium.
The France international was a key cog in the Foxes machine last season as Claudio Ranieri’s side swept to a remarkable Premier League title success.
His exploits attracted admiring glances from afar, though, and he was lured away to Chelsea in a big-money deal after just 12 months with Leicester.
His departure was always going to hit the club hard, but his value to the cause has been highlighted on an almost weekly basis this season.
While he is helping Chelsea edge their way towards the top-flight crown, Leicester are looking anxiously over their shoulder at the relegation zone.
A 3-0 defeat to United provided the latest blow to fragile confidence, with Ibrahimovic posing plenty of problems in an area of the field that was dominated by Kante’s presence in 2015-16.
Elliott told Sky Sports: "He covers that area, in-between the lines, Ibrahimovic was dropping in there and Kante would've snuffed that out, not a problem.
“Leicester’s problems? It's a slight change of tact, they're not as compact, they don't defend as deep as last season. That made them tighter as a unit.
“If anything they tried to be more adventurous this season and paid the price for that. But Kante's a big miss, without a doubt."
As the Foxes continue to toil in their title defence, questions are being asked of manager Claudio Ranieri.
He admits that he is not safe from the sack, but Elliott believes the Foxes will stick with the Italian for fear of further disrupting an already precarious situation.
"They appointed him and I think they'll stick with him and I think it's the right thing to do,” he added.
“If they change, it's going to add more turmoil to the situation.
“The players, whether they're 100 per cent behind him at the moment is up in the air but they need to follow his direction."