Manchester City FC 2017/18 Player Preview – Vincent Kompany

MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Vincent Kompany of Manchester City arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester City at the Riverside Stadium on April 30, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
MIDDLESBROUGH, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: Vincent Kompany of Manchester City arrives at the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Manchester City at the Riverside Stadium on April 30, 2017 in Middlesbrough, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images) /

2017/2018 Manchester City Player Previews

Vincent Kompany (C)

HOUSTON, TX – JULY 20: Vincent Kompany
HOUSTON, TX – JULY 20: Vincent Kompany /

O, Captain! My Captain! Is this the season where Kompany puts aside his injury problems and leads Manchester City on their quest for silverware and glory?

Vincent Kompany is the last of a dying breed, both literally and figuratively. Kompany is a strong old school hard tackling defender who barks out orders on the field keeping every player organized, calm, and playing to their potential. With Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart leaving Manchester this summer, the City skipper is the last remaining player at the Club who has been part of the team since before the big money takeover. It speaks volumes that Kompany has remained a vital cog in the ruthless City war machine for close to a decade. Even though he has found himself sidelined in recent seasons due to niggling injuries, the City Football Group continue to believe in the big Belgian. The reason for their belief and trust in Kompany is because he is irreplaceable both on and off the pitch. Manchester City has invested millions in signing central defenders over the years yet Vinny remains the top man. City look an entirely different prospect when they have their leader on the pitch.

Off the pitch, the club couldn’t ask for a better captain. Kompany is a great role model who is an active member of the Manchester community who loves both the city and the club. Kompany’s determination to see City win trophies and become a footballing superpower is a huge reason why he keeps getting back up when life knocks him down.

His never say never attitude seems to have finally allowed him to overcome his injury problems. So what can we expect from the big man in the 2017/18 season?

Three’s Kompany

Pep Guardiola tried to implement a 3-5-2 system last season to no avail since the team was lacking fullbacks who could bomb up and down the pitch as wingbacks. It also didn’t help that the team’s main central defenders were an inexperienced John Stones, an ageing converted fullback in Aleksandar Kolarov, and the ill-disciplined Nicolas Otamendi. Guardiola has reverted back to trying the 3-5-2 again this preseason with a seemingly full fit Kompany and new reinforcements on the flanks. It has worked wonders during the preseason with City winning each match they have played using the formation.

HOUSTON, TX – JULY 20: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
HOUSTON, TX – JULY 20: Henrikh Mkhitaryan /

However, the problem remains that City currently only have three centre-backs that Guardiola trusts: Kompany, Otamendi, and Stones. Mangala is out of favour with the Spanish manager and youngster Tosin Adarabioyo is still too raw to be trusted in any games of magnitude. If Kompany goes out injured for an extended period of time, would the team be able to continue to thrive in this formation? Both Stones and Otamendi look nervous and out of their depth at times when the skipper is not on the pitch so playing a system that leaves the back line even more exposed is just asking for trouble. Kompany’s presence is vital to the success of Guardiola’s dream formation. The preseason has shown that Kompany’s unparalleled ability to make timely interceptions, win aerial duels, and place inch perfect passes between the lines make him an absolute necessity.

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Build some Stones

When John Stones was signed to the club many City fans were excited at the prospect of pairing the young Englishman with Vincent Kompany. Comparisons were drawn with a young Gerard Pique teaming up with a more experienced Carles Puyol at Barcelona. Unfortunately, Stones was thrown to the wolves right away with no guidance or on field mentor. Late last season when Kompany returned to the fold both Stones and Otamendi improved. They seemed more confident and sure of themselves. Vinny allows his partner at the back to play freely because they know that the captain can be relied upon to clean up any mess they make.

NASHVILLE, TN – JULY 29: John Stones
NASHVILLE, TN – JULY 29: John Stones /

A quick glance at Stones’ performances this preseason can be credited to the presence of Kompany on the pitch. Kompany has moved over to the right sided centerback role of the back three allowing Stones to play to his strengths in the middle of the three. John Stones is covered on the sides similarly to David Luiz at Chelsea which provides him with the security needed to play passes and burst forward on occasion. Kompany has also freed up Stones on City’s set pieces which have been ineffective in recent seasons given the diminutive nature of the side. Vincent Kompany’s patented near post run off corners is feared by all teams. As a result, Kompany often finds himself marked by multiple defenders that free up Stones. His two goals this preseason have come from the extra space provided by Vincent being at his side. If he remains fit and firing, Vincent Kompany will make sure John Stones lives up to his 50 million pound price tag.

The Big 4-0

In City’s two recent title winning seasons (2011/12 and 2013/14) Kompany made 42 and 37 appearances for the Sky Blues. That totals for 79 appearances in two seasons. In the last three seasons where City have struggled for silverware, the captain has only made 70 appearances for the club. There is a direct correlation between City’s success and Kompany’s fitness. I believe that he needs to start and play at least 40 matches this season. In a perfect season, City would play around 65 matches this season in all competitions. Based on historical data, if the Belgian can play around 60% of City’s matches this season, the club will surely win at least one trophy. Pep Guardiola and his staff must do everything possible to ensure that Kompany remains fit for all of City’s important matches this season. Ironically, the one player that Pep did not buy remains his most important in a make or break season for the Catalan man.

Next: Manchester City: 5 players who should be the captain in 5 years

The fact remains, if Kompany is 100%, City are 100%.