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Manchester City desperate for Vincent Kompany to return

Tuesday 21st February 2017
Over the last decade, Vincent Kompany has been a key component for Manchester City during their most successful ever period, which witnessed the club twice crowned Premier League champions. But over the past two seasons, injuries have plagued the centre-back; Pep Guardiola's side now need their captain fully fit to increase their prospects of delivering major honours.

In the summer of 2008, Man City welcomed a new addition with the arrival of a young defender from German side Hamburg for £6 million. Now in his ninth season with the Citizens, Kompany's record eclipses nearly all that have gone before him: a winner of two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups and a Community Shield. During his trophy-laden career, the Belgium international established himself as the best centre back in English football and was also voted Premier League Player of the Season in 2011-12, while being selected in the Team of the Season three separate times. Man City's captain has played a vital role in the club's rapid rise to prominence, but more recently, he's suffered an injury nightmare.

Kompany's torment began last season when several calf injuries saw him absent for three months of the campaign - 25 matches in all. Then, with the European Championships approaching, the Belgian defender experienced another setback, this time a groin injury that ended all hopes of representing his country at Euro 2016. Since Guardiola arrived in Manchester at the beginning of the season, he's been unable to rely on his talismanic captain, as the 30-year-old has suffered a further succession of injuries - groin and knee, and missed a large proportion of games. The Man City centre-back made brief recoveries but is still to regain full fitness, which is a massive blow to the club, as his presence in the team would help stabilise a suspect looking defence.
With Kompany appearing in just six games this season, it's been a major factor in contributing to his side's defensive troubles. Guardiola's reshaping of formation and changes in personnel, repeatedly switching from implementing two central defenders to three, has also caused some confusion. The result of this has seen Man City concede 29 Premier League goals in 25 games, which is the most out of the current top four sides, and incredibly when considering the resources available at both clubs, the Citizens have shipped in two more than the team placed 16th, Middlesbrough.

For the most part this season, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have featured in the heart of the defence. While Stones is still developing and prone to costly lapses, his Argentine counterpart is capable of delivering great performances but remains too inconsistent for a side aiming to challenge at the top. Another player who has occasionally stepped into this position, Aleksandar Kolarov, also appears uncomfortable in that new role. For a team hoping to conquer domestic football, as well as European, Man City's centre-backs are still to display the quality required. Either they aren't capable of rising to the task or need a steadying influence alongside them - Kompany, once a consistent performer and proven world-class talent, would organise his teammates and improve the current defensive lineup.

Guardiola has a skilful squad at his disposal, particularly in attacking areas, which should ensure his side fight for silverware this season. However, Kompany's absence remains a huge loss, and if he can overcome the injuries and return to top condition, Man City would possess a player capable of galvanising his teammates during crucial moments in games. Kompany is a defensive colossus, a commanding physical presence at the back who often demonstrates the art of a perfectly timed tackle. He's also the ideal embodiment of a natural leader, with both his words and actions on the pitch, and he always maintains an awareness of what's going on around him.
At the end of last month, Kompany featured for his side in their game against Crystal Palace, but as has often been the case, his return proved extremely short-lived. The Belgian was again sidelined with a leg injury for the Citizens recent goalless stalemate in the FA Cup clash away at Huddersfield and he will now miss the crucial Champions League tie on Tuesday night against French table-toppers Monaco.

After a fair amount of setbacks and now on the wrong side of 30, the question isn't when will the former Premier League Player of the Season enjoy a lengthy succession of games, but will he ever put the injuries behind him and rediscover his best form. Although, after a long period out of the limelight, it's difficult to envisage the Man City star ever returning as the immense figure he once was, Kompany is still a valuable member of Guardiola's side and for the club to fulfil their potential in the near future, they need their captain back to lead the way.
Danny Glendenning

Passions include reading, sport, and nights out with friends. A football fanatic whose writing career began in May 2016. Now 30 years old, lives in South Yorkshire - local team is Doncaster Rovers, although heart lies with Arsenal. Contributing editor for It's Round And It's White. Current claim to fame is an interview with Ron Atkinson. Always looking for work, either editing or writing. Contact via email: Dannysg1988@outlook.com. Or Twitter: @DannySG1988.



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