There is no doubt that Vincent Kompany was hugely influential in Manchester City winning the Premier League title last season, and his absence for games this year has no doubt had an effect on City. However, this is not the only reason for City being unable to successfully defend their crown.
Manchester United are almost certain to regain the Premier League trophy this season and they have done so by their usual flair and ability to score plenty of goals. The capture of Robin van Persie in the summer is one of the deciding factors, as is the impressive firepower that United possess. Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez have been their usual prolific selves.
In contrast, City have struggled in front of goal. Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko have all scored goals but they have been less prolific than last season and the upheaval of Mario Balotelli departure to AC Milan has not helped.
City have struggled with the responsibility of being champions, where every team is giving their all in order to get one over on them. United are more used to this pressure every game and have the experience to handle it.
United have taken points off all their main rivals but more importantly they have not succumbed to teams in less glamorous games away from home. Losses at Sunderland and Southampton, along with too many draws, has highlighted City’s inability to break sides down.
This has seriously hampered their season. In contrast, United have won 25 out of their 30 games and can seemingly find crucial goals even when not playing at their best.
Both sides have excellent defensive records but United have scored more goals both at home and on the road. United had issues in defence in the first half of the season but have overcome these. In fact they have not conceded more than one goal in any Premier League game since the New Year began. This has been crucial in establishing their current 15-point gap.
Overall, United have been more consistent all season and have played more as a team than City. Newcastle United’s Yohan Cabaye was perhaps right in his recent assessment of both clubs.
Speaking to The Sun, Cabaye said: "City have fantastic players but, unfortunately for them, they don’t think and play as a team — it’s not the same as United. So maybe that’s the difference.
"City are still a fantastic team. But they are a team of individuals."
Vincent Kompany’s return is very welcome for City but with the title all but gone, they will be focused on finishing the season as strongly as possible and then turning their attention to recapturing the Premier League title next season.
United, however, will be buoyed by their form this season and Sir Alex Ferguson will be more determined than ever to stop the blue side of Manchester from lifting the trophy again.
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