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Vincent Kompany’s form highlights Manchester City’s title struggle

Football News | Article posted on March 1st, 2015

If this was the day Manchester City’s quest to join Manchester United and Chelsea in defending the Premier League crown crumpled, Vincent Kompany will have sour memories to contemplate for a long time.
The captain’s ongoing trials required only 11 minutes to be resumed. That was the moment Kompany scrambled to clear a short Fernandinho pass and was made a mug of by Raheem Sterling who snatched the ball and raced towards Joe Hart’s goal.
In a flash, he found Jordan Henderson and the midfielder swept inside before placing a peach of a 20-yard shot beyond Hart to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead.
On Friday Manuel Pellegrini admitted speaking privately to Kompany following the defender’s catastrophic performance in City’s 2-1 loss to Barcelona, when he was criticised for each strike netted by the Catalan club in the Champions League last-16 first leg at the Etihad Stadium. The manager also defended Kompany in the same press conference, stating the Belgian would be inspired by the flak he received.
Pellegrini might like to rethink that view after yet another error in a high-stakes match, following mistakes that include last month’s defeat to Arsenal, and in the Champions League against Roma and CSKA Moscow before Christmas.
Asked about Kompany following this defeat which derived from Philippe Coutinho’s 75th-minute winner after Edin Dzeko’s equaliser, Pellegrini was hardly that protective of him.
“I am concerned about the whole team,” said Pellegrini. “We start this week against Barcelona and then today: it was not our team, we cannot lose so many balls with the technical players we have. That is more important to analyse than the performance of one player. It is more important to think as a team.”
As leader and the champions’ alpha-defender Kompany should have thrived in having to mark Sterling, as he often did on an afternoon when City were second best throughout.
Yet when the ball was played into Sterling, Kompany, 28, appeared twice the age of Liverpool forward, as he grappled with a footballer who can be jelly-like to contain.
Mitigation could be found for these struggles further forward. When City are pinned back, as they were for long passages by the men in red, Yaya Touré can be a virtual spectator.There are attempts to spoil and thwart but the 31-year-old often fails as when Adam Lallana’s speedy feet had him waltzing past the Ivorian to launch Liverpool on yet another first-half attack.
Touré was so out of sorts that the last act before half-time was a pass from the midfielder that went yards wide of Pablo Zabaleta and rolled out of play to the jeers of the Liverpool fans.
Yet at half-time, City were level from a sweet move that was begun by Touré and finished by Edin Dzeko.
However, there

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