On Tuesday, Manuel Pellegrini admitted that Manchester City captain, Vincent Kompany, could be injured until the “last part of the season”. He has been struggling with injuries all season and he has only made eight appearances for the club this term.
Without Kompany in the heart of the defence, City look extremely vulnerable and this is reflected in their poor defensive performances this season. When they won the league in 2011/12, Manchester City only conceded 29 goals in the league and Kompany was arguably playing his best football for the club then. City have already conceded 21 in the league this season and the expensive partnership of Mangala and Otamendi is looking very unconvincing.
At the beginning of the season, it looked like Kompany was back to his best and this had a positive impact on the rest of the team. City strolled to victory in their first five games, keeping clean sheets in all of them. However, when their captain was suffered from a calf injury, the side failed to keep a clean sheet until his return to the side in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United at the end of October.
It became a cycle for Manchester City as Kompany helped the defence to a clean sheet against Aston Villa, before getting injured yet again. The following match, Liverpool managed to score four goals against the vulnerable defence. A return in the Christmas period was cut short after Kompany limped off after less than ten minutes as a substitute at Sunderland, which has led to Pellegrini admitting that his return date is unclear.
Despite Kompany only making eight appearances this season, City only managed to keep their first clean sheet without him on the 29th of December against Leicester.
In addition to the lack of clean sheets, City failed to win an away game in the league without Kompany from the middle of September until the beginning of January. The Belgian centre-back is a leading figure in the dressing room and without his dominating and motivating personality, City look to be struggling.
As we come into the second half of the season, Manchester City sit three points behind leaders Arsenal, but are not looking like a threatening side to the Gunners at the moment. City’s inconsistency has been their downfall this season, but the inability to keep a clean sheet will have dragged their defenders’ confidence down.
I think that the squad could be boosted by Kompany’s expected return towards the end of the season. The return of their captain could swing the momentum in their favour as they battle out for the title with Arsenal, as long as they are still in the race. City currently look short of confidence and their players seem to struggle constantly on the road. Vincent Kompany could be the difference in the title race as he could sure up City’s defence and also motivate the rest of the team to grind out the results they need.