For the fifth consecutive week, Manchester City headed into battle without their captain.
Central defender Vincent Kompany has been out of the lineup for City since sustaining a calf injury against Stoke City back in late January and his team has paid the price. The three matches leading up to Sunday’s clash with Chelsea had seen City drop crucial points to QPR, Liverpool, and Southampton, which has all but clinched the title for cross-town rival Manchester United.
In a surprisingly dominating performance, The Sky Blues beat a streaking Chelsea squad 2-0 Sunday. The win marks their first league victory since losing their captain, but unfortunately, the damage has been done. Twelve points behind Manchester United, the title race is all but over with just months remaining, but the win will help in City’s quest to secure a place in next year’s Champions League tournament. At this point, it would be wise for the team not to welcome Kompany back until he is fully healed and fully fit because with both the Champions League and EPL title out of reach, there is no reason to risk further injury to such an important player.
Part of the reason that City has missed Kompany so much is the consistent play of Manchester United. In many other seasons, dropping points in three matches they should have won may not have been such a nail in the coffin, however, Manchester United has looked unbeatable lately; unbeaten in their last fifteen matches, with a record of 13-0-2.
The Red Devils have looked to be on a mission after narrowly missing out on the title last season and Sir Alex Ferguson has once again displayed his genius and experience with this year’s success. United is also poised to make a run in the Champions League as they are currently battling Real Madrid for a spot in the final eight. Unfortunately, in Saturday’s match against QPR, United fans saw the worst sight they could imagine, as star striker Robin Van Persie limped off the pitch before halftime with an apparent hip injury. While the diagnosis is not yet public, it is never a good sign when your best player cannot finish a match. United fans will be holding their breath for a report, knowing Van Persie’s importance for the not just the remainder of the EPL season, but also for the second leg round of 16 Champions League match against Madrid.
While the top two teams struggle with key injuries, the rest of the league has had its own problems. Teams like Aston Villa and Newcastle continue to pile up the injuries, which have had a severe effect on their respective seasons.
Let’s take a look at some of the other injuries around the league:
Courtesy of Physio Room: Player/Injury/Expected Return
Paul Scholes/Knee Injury/March 2nd
Darren Fletcher/Chronic Bowel Syndrome/Unknown
Kieran Gibbs/Thigh Strain/Unknown
Micah Richards/Knee/March 4th
Jermaine Defoe/Ankle/March 3rd
S. Ranieri/ACL/October 13th
Younes Kaboul/Knee/February 25th
Hatem Ben Arfa/Hamstring/March 2nd
H. Vuckic/ACL/May 13th
Ryan Taylor/ACL/March 29th