Chelsea's N'Golo Kante was the most talked about player during Leicester's loss to Hull


Well, that was a surprise.

As Leicester travelled to Hull City to kick off this season's Premier League nobody gave Hull a chance - and with good reason. The club are in terrible shape with just 13 senior pros heading into the season and a bench made up almost entirely of players uncapped in the first team. A visit from the champions on the first day seemed like the last thing they needed.

But right from the off the Tigers looked more up for it than the Foxes. And their hard work, coupled with some bad finishing from Leicester and in particular Jamie Vardy, saw Hull leaving the KCOM Stadium leading 2-1 with three points and a significantly happier fan base. But would the result have been the same had N'Golo Kante be on the pitch, instead of preparing for his competitive debut with Chelsea?

The French midfielder was one of last season's outstanding players and his absence from Leicester's midfield was noticeable. Danny Drinkwater and Andy King filled the two midfield positions but it became apparent that without Kante's energy, and presence in front of the back four, Leicester's midfield is suddenly not as impenetrable.

The Foxes still swarmed around the ball in midfield but won it back or intercepted passes forward much less frequently, and everybody came to the same conclusion. And made the same joke.

The signing of Nampalys Mendy may prove to be a good one as the season goes on, if he and Drinkwater can develop the same kind of understanding that Drinkwater had with Kante last season. It's a relationship that will also improve the players around them, giving the likes of Riyad Mahrez the confidence to push higher up the pitch without worrying about holes behind him.

But until that happens Leicester fans will be very aware there's a weakness in their team that didn't exist when they won the league.

The champions lost their first game of the season, but Hull deserve all the credit for the togetherness they showed as well as the ruthlessness in exposing Leicester's flaws.

Now the big question will be how do the champions respond? Claudio Ranieri's men face Arsenal, Leicester and Manchester United in the next few weeks, and they have issues to address before then.

Kante, meanwhile, kicks off his season with Chelsea against West Ham on Monday, and will no doubt show Leicester what they're missing.