Huge boost for City in title showdown as Kompany returns to shore up defence
Captain has been sorely missed this season but should play against Tottenham
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is set to end his latest injury absence and return to lead his side’s bid to revive their Premier League title challenge against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Kompany has been out of action since a 4-1 win over Sunderland on Boxing Day when he suffered the recurrence of a calf injury that has dogged the defender in recent seasons.
The Belgium international, 29, has been restricted to just nine league appearances this season, but with him in the starting line-up City have not lost and have conceded just two goals.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini will therefore restore Kompany to the centre of defence as his side aim to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat to table-toppers Leicester City last Saturday that left the title contenders six points adrift of the leaders and one point behind third-placed Arsenal and second-placed Tottenham.
“Vincent has worked the last three weeks without any problems. He played 45 minutes in a friendly with the Under-21s so I think that he is ready now to play,” Pellegrini said.
“I think that you have seen Kompany playing so many years here that I don’t have to say what he brings to the team.
“He is one of the best defenders in the league, he is the captain of the team.”
City still have major injury problems with Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala, Samir Nasri, Jesus Navas, Kevin de Bruyne and Wilfried Bony all sidelined.
In addition, Fabian Delph has sustained an Achilles tendon injury which will sideline the midfielder for up to seven weeks and probably keep him out of England’s high-profile friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands at the end of March.
But Spain midfielder David Silva is fit for the Eastlands showdown with Tottenham – who ended a run of four successive defeats against City with a 4-1 win in September – after recovering from an ankle injury.
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“It is important because they are very important players. David has played with a problem in his ankle for the last four or five games. I hope that now he will be better,” added Pellegrini, who remains confident City can recover from their loss to Leicester and still win the title.
“We are always thinking that we can do it. After that you must demonstrate during the game why you can do it.
“Maybe it was an unexpected defeat against Leicester knowing that we played a very good team.
“In the last 11 games we just lost one against Everton in the first leg of the League Cup semi-finals. We were in a good moment but played a bad game.”
Tottenham travel to Manchester in outstanding form, having won their last six matches, and boss Mauricio Pochettino says he is enjoying the best moment of his career as the north Londoners look to win the title for the first time since 1961.
“Is it the most enjoyable time of my career? Maybe yes if I’m honest,” he said.
“My philosophy is I need to improve every day, I need to try.
“We try this week to work very hard and be focused. Every game is very important. To arrive at the end to be in the position we are you need to win games. But this weekend is not decisive. It’s not the last game.
“We have top players who have experience of Premier League, the balance is good, we have to give the credit to the senior players too.
“I think we are confident in ourselves but you know in football it can turn quick. We need to be very focused and try to improve.
“We are happy in the way we are, we need to keep working hard and be focused.”