It’s often been said that Manchester City look like a different side when Vincent Kompany is absent. Weaker, softer, more brittle—the opposition appear to get a boost when they see a City team sheet bereft of his name. He’s a world-class centre-back and by far City’s best defender.
For all of Mark Hughes’ failings—and there were many—the £6 million signing of Kompany remains a very shrewd piece of business. It represents one of the finest pound-for-pound signings of the last decade, and one of the best transfer deals in City’s history.
Hughes’ mishandling of Kompany came when he dogmatically played him in midfield, despite him displaying all the characteristics of a top-drawer defender. Once Roberto Mancini arrived, however, Kompany was a permanent centre-back and quickly developed a reputation as one of the best in the Premier League.
Solid defensively and excellent with the ball at his feet, he is a complete modern-day centre-half.
With Rio Ferdinand now a fading force and Nemanja Vidic not quite at the level of a few years ago, Kompany is comfortably the best centre-back playing in England. His performance against Manchester United in the 4-1 win earlier in the season was one of the finest displays you’re likely to see from a defender. He was outstanding.
However, he has become prone to injury, and when he’s missing, as he currently is, City look nowhere near as solid at the back. In fact, there have been times this season—even in matches they’ve ultimately ended up winning—where they’ve looked dreadful defensively. City can cope without any other player, but when Kompany is missing the effect is massive. He has become their most important player.
One look at the statistics backs that claim up. Taking this season into account, City collect far fewer points without Kompany in the side. When he plays, City are taking an average of 2.25 goals per game, which is title-winning form, but when he's absent they collect just 1.66 points per game.
The full details are listed below.
With Kompany 2013/14
Games Played 4.
Goals Conceded 5.
Clean Sheets 1.
Goals Conceded Per Game 1.25.
Form: Won 3, Lost 1.
Points Per Game = 2.25.
Without Kompany 2013/14
Games Played 6.
Goals Conceded 6.
Clean Sheets 3.
Goals Conceded Per Game 1.
Form: Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 2.
Points Per Game = 1.66.
It was a similar story last season. He missed 12 games through injury and suspension, including a run of six games which wiped out all of February and half of March—a period which saw City lose their way badly and hand the title to United. Once again, with Kompany, City took over two points per game, whereas they slipped to an average of 1.91 without him.
With Kompany 2012/13
Games Played 26.
Goals Conceded 23.
Clean Sheets 11.
Goals Conceded Per Game 0.88.
Form: Won 16, Drawn 7, Lost 3.
Points Per Game Avg. = 2.11.
Without Kompany 2012/13
Games Played 12.
Goals Conceded 11.
Clean Sheets 7.
Goals Conceded Per Game 0.92.
Form: Won 7, Drawn 2, Lost 3.
Points Per Game Avg. = 1.91.
The statistics simply prove what we all already knew, which is that Vincent Kompany makes a huge difference to Manchester City and their ability to win. He is their leader, captain, organiser and best defender.
Any side in world football would miss Kompany, but City must figure out a way of coping better without him. His susceptibility to injury means City will invariably face times when he is unavailable, and they cannot continue to drop points in his absence at the rate they currently are.
All statistics provided by Squawka.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.
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