Vincent Kompany injured his troublesome calf for the third time this season in his comeback match against Sunderland on Boxing Day.
The Manchester City skipper has already missed more than two months of action this season due to calf injuries, the first of which occurred against Juventus on Matchday 1 of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League.
He returned to action for City in the Manchester Derby on October 25th, 42 days after picking up the injury, but lasted just four games before another calf injury derailed him. He, however, had played for Belgium against Israel during the international break that preceded City’s 5-1 demolition victory against Bournemouth, before appearing for his club.
Speaking after City’s 0-0 draw against Leicester City last month, Manuel Pellegrini said that Kompany’s latest injury is a grade two calf tear. And it is now the 12th calf injury the 29-year-old has suffered since the beginning of the 2011/12 season.
Looking ahead, when can we expect the Belgian to return to action for City? When would be the ideal time for him to make his return?
Extrapolating Vincent Kompany’s return
It has been close to two weeks since Kompany injured his calf again, on December 26th, 2015. The City manager, speaking after the away game against the Foxes, did not put a time frame on when his inspirational skipper and a quintessential member of the squad could be back in action. He, however, said that Kompany is definitely not going to be involved for a minimum of three to four weeks.
That assessment meant Kompany was sure to miss Barclays Premier League games against Watford (away), Everton (home), Crystal Palace (home) and West Ham United (away), in addition to the Capital one Cup and FA Cup fixtures against the Toffees (away) and Norwich City (away) respectively.
The second leg of City’s League Cup semifinal against Everton is scheduled for the 27th of January, when one wonders if Kompany could return to lead the Cityzens. A month would have passed since he picked up the muscle injury, and could be the time to get him playing matches again.
Having said so, it is after the second week of February, that City enter a crucial phase of their 2015/16 campaign, starting with the first leg of the Champions League R-16 tie against Dynamo Kyiv on the 24th February. So, it would not be absurd to delay Kompany’s return to action, until he has recovered completely and is in no danger of injuring his calf muscle again.
Putting ourselves in the shoes of Pellegrini and Kompany, recurrence of the calf injury for the fourth time this season is simply unthinkable. The central defensive partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala has done reasonably well in recent games, conceding just two goals – both from set-plays – in City’s last three fixtures.
But City need Kompany to be leading them in the Champions League games and, possibly, the Capital One Cup final, as well, on February 28th. That could well be the reason why his return to action gets delayed and means City fans will not see the hard-tackling defender until the beginning of February, at least.
Kompany himself would not want to hurry his return to action this time around, having seen his calf injury recur for a third time in a span of four months. From City’s point-of-view, the Mangala-Otamendi partnership has gelled and played consistently over the last month, which is a positive. But City’s defensive record is not good, by any means, when Kompany has not played. That is ‘the’ reason why City need their skipper to return to action sooner rather than later.