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Defensive partnerships and the presence of Vincent Kompany

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This is an area that I have looked at previously and it was a recent tweet from TLDORC that got me thinking and crunching the defensive partnership numbers again.

Roberto Mancinin was very consistent in his selection over the two thirds of the season, where it was Kolo Toure/Vincent Kompany for the main, but as TLDORC states, Roberto Mancini has now fielded a different partnership in consecutive games pretty much since the turn of the year.

This season, Kompany, Toure, Joleon Lescott, Jerome Boateng, Dedryck Boyata, Micah Richards and Ben Mee have all featured in the central positions, a fair amount of quality to choose from. Whilst Kompany's form has been superb this season (Premier League 'all-star' form in fact) and undoubtedly a unanimous selection, the other position is perhaps less clear.

Toure has improved on last season, the lack of the armband perhaps helping in this regard, whilst Lescott, though unassuming, has at times impressed and been a solid contributor when selected (primarily alongside Kompany). Boateng hasn't really found his feet since arriving (at any position across the backline) whilst Boyata appeared to take a step back following his early dismissal against Arsenal. Micah Richards has featured just once and has seemingly grasped the right-back spot on the back of his current form.

What has shown is that Mancini overwhelmingly favours the Toure/Kompany tandem, with Lescott/Kompany the second most used duo, with just six appearances together; a clear sign that whilst Mancini is more than willing to rotate it is Kompany plus one of Toure or Lescott that he opts for as his 'go to' pairing. 

Whilst Lescott/Kompany have the edge in winning percentage with 83.33% overall (80% League and 100% Cup), ahead of Toure/Kompany's surprisingly lower 52% overall (50% League and 66% Cup) there is less of a body of evidence and their goals against tally (GAA) is inferior: 1.33 overall (1.2 League and 2.0 Cup) compared with Toure/Kompany's very impressive 0.65 overall (0.7 League and 0.33 Cup), which features twelve clean sheets and nineteen games (out of their twenty-three together) in total where they have conceded one or few goals in a game.

The constant theme across all of these figures is of course Vincent Kompany, the mainstay of any pairing this season and whilst he has been absent for ten games during 2010/11, none of these has been in League games, perfectly illustrating his increasing value to Mancini and the side

I've looked each of the twelve partnerships Mancini has now deployed both in league and cup: looked at record, winning percentage, goals conceded, GAA and clean sheets to see who, statistically at least, has been the best partnership over 2010/11; something I'll revisit I'm sure before the end of the season:


Partnership Competition # of Games Record Win % Conceded GAA Clean sheets Toure/Kompany League 20 W10D6L4 50% 14 0.7 10 Toure/Kompany Cup 3 W2D1L0 66% 1 0.33 2 Toure/Kompany Overall 23 W12D7L4 52% 15 0.65 12 Boyata/Kompany Cup 1 W1D0L0 100% 0 0 1 Boyata/Kompany Overall 2 W1D0L1 50% 3 1.5 1 Boyata/Mee League - - - - - - Boyata/Mee Cup 1 W0D0L1 0% 2 2 0 Lescott/Kompany League 5 W4D0L1 80% 6 1.2 1 Lescott/Kompany Cup 1 W1D0L0 100% 2 2 0 Lescott/Kompany Overall 6 W5D0L1 83.30% 8 1.33 1 Toure/Lescott League - - - - - - Toure/Lescott Overall 3 W2D1L0 66% 2 0.66 2 Richards/Boyata League - - - - - - Richards/Boyata Cup 1 W0D1L0 0% 1 1 0 Richards/Boyata Overall 1 W0D1L0 0% 1 1 0 Boateng/Lescott League - - - - - - Boateng/Lescott Overall 1 W0D1L0 0% 1 1 0 Boateng/Kompany League 1 W0D1L0 0% 2 2 0 Boateng/Kompany Overall 1 W0D1L0 0% 2 2 0