After going out of the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona on Wednesday night, Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany proclaimed in an interview for Sky Sports that: “Only the winners get remembered, but it's only the third year ever for Manchester City in the Champions League. I'm looking at this and I don't see why next year we should fear anyone”.
While some may argue that City still lack the experience and tactical nous of some other teams in Europe such as Bayern Munich or Barcelona, there is some evidence that the Manchester City captain’s assertions have some basis in truth.
Analysing some of the statistics from the second leg tie against Barcelona, City had 43% possession to Barcelona’s 57% which is much more than a majority of teams who face Barcelona manage.
In comparison, in Bayern Munich’s 4 - 0 destruction of Barcelona in the first leg of the semi-finals of last season’s Champions League, Bayern only managed 37% possession to Barcelona’s 63%.
This is made even more admirable when you consider that Manchester City played with 10 men after the sending off of Pablo Zabaleta in the 78th minute. Although it is true that possession isn’t a guarantor of results or success, it does show that technically City are improving and, at least, have a midfield that is capable of challenging the top teams.
However, while City’s midfield may be able to compete with the elite European teams, it is clear that defensively they are yet to find a centre-back partner for Kompany who is capable of both playing at the same level as him and able to compliment his forward thinking and aggressive style.
Both Joleon Lescott in the second leg and Martin Demichelis in the first leg against Barcelona showed that they simply are not capable enough at the highest level.
If City truly want to fear no-one and conversely be the team that strikes fear into the hearts of their European opponents, it is clear that their main course of business in the summer transfer window should be to acquire a centre-back with the ability to be Vincent Kompany’s foil.
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