What’s the Matter With? Vincent Kompany’s sluggish form
Defensive stability looks the big reason for the Belgian’s dip in form this season
When lifting the Premier League trophy in May, Vincent Kompany could count himself a little unlucky not to also be known as player of the season after a string of colossal performances.
His defensive dominance and leadership were imperative to Manchester City’s success and he netted the crucial only goal in the 1-0 win over Manchester United.
Unlike numerous Premier League players, he enjoyed a whole pre-season off, with no Euro 2012 or Olympic football to partake in and so should have returned for the new campaign fully revitalised and raring to go.
Instead, although City may still be the only unbeaten team in the top flight, but this is in no way thanks to their defensive contribution, keeping just two clean sheets in their opening nine games.
Partly as a result, Man City have dropped to second favourites at 13/8 to win the Premier League this season.
Manager Roberto Mancini has to take his portion of the blame for countless changes in formation, meaning City have had far from a settled back four.
The 4-2-3-1 formation of last season has largely been neglected, meaning less protection from those in holding midfield, while when Mancini has opted for four at the back, Joleon Lescott has not been the regular partner like in the previous campaign.
Kolo Toure, Matija Nastasic and Micah Richards have all played alongside Kompany, while at right-back Richards, Pablo Zabaleta and Maicon have been utilised.
Some would argue that the relationship between full back and centre back is close to being of equal importance as the two central defenders.
Meanwhile, Kompany has been in the middle of a back-three at times, meaning that he is effectively a spare man and robbing him of using his best attributes.
He is certainly better off doing the marking given his strength and aerial ability, while in this formation he looks lost positionally.
Because he is spare, he is unsure of who to be picking up and almost where to stand.
While he also has the chance to step out into effectively a deeper midfield position to press the ball, knowing that the strikers behind him are being marked.
When then reverting back to two central defenders, habit has sometimes lured him into similar moves, but if he fails to win the ball or block a pass, there is now a big defensive gap where he should be.
Gary Neville has previously said that complacency can kick in at this time of the season and it is only in the New Year that title-chasers put their business heads on.
But this doesn’t seem true of Kompany, even if he did sign a new six-year contract in the summer, and he simply needs some stability in formation and personnel to rediscover some better form.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date