It’s not often that a defender is lauded as man-of-the-match following a 4-1 win. But after City trounced United in the season’s first Manchester derby, amongst the many contenders for the accolade was Vincent Kompany, as the City captain put in a typically inspirational performance.
Sky Sports’s Jamie Carragher, a pundit notoriously difficult to appease from a defensive perspective, was waxing lyrical about the Belgian’s showing in his post game analysis:
“As a centre-back myself, watching that performance I was just in awe. Kompany gave a performance defensively and attackingly – he was involved in some of the goals. I don’t think I have seen a centre-back perform like that. He was not playing against Mickey Mouse players – that was England’s front two!”
Carragher was right, for Kompany bossed both Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney. And it wasn’t just the typical physical dominance you often associate with your average centre-back. Kompany comprehensively out-thought the United strikers too. When you combine that pace and power with such a high-level understanding of the game, the end result is often a world class talent.
Kompany is a player well befitting of the world class tag, and he has been so for a long time now. Whether he is ready to be considered as the world’s best centre-back is another matter entirely, but that is exactly what some are proclaiming him to be. Following that marvelous performance in the derby, former Belgium international Marc Degryse put his case forward:
“He came back from injury, but was immediately outstanding. And to do that in such a game is world class. I can think of no better central defender in the world.”
Whilst Degryse refers to the Belgian’s most recent showing in isolation, this sort of performance is nothing new for Kompany. He has been central to City’s recent successes and played a key role in winning both the 2011 FA Cup and 2012 Premier League title. His growth has been steady since arrival in England, and at this juncture he is someone who has every attribute the modern game demands of it’s very best defenders.
Physically, there are few forwards who can stand up to him. He is one of the most athletic players in the Premier League, and as a defender who looks to play very much on the front foot, his physical qualities compliment his combative style perfectly. His developing patent for nipping in front of the attacker, stealing the ball and powering into midfield with purpose has become an increasingly useful attacking weapon for City.