What has happened to the goal threat of Vermaelen and Kompany?

Manchester City and Arsenal's goalscoring centre-backs have not netted once between them in the Premier League this season. Why?

If you were asked to pick your dream Premier League defence before the season, there is every chance you would have come up with a partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian duo both ended last season in superb form for their clubs, Kompany finishing up with a league winner's medal.

But it was not just their defending which caught the eye, both scored important goals for their clubs helping them finish first and third.

Kompany - voted the Barclays Player of the Season - scored the crucial headed winner against Manchester United in the Etihad derby credited with turning the tide in the title race.

It was the third goal he scored last year, previously netting against Aston Villa and Liverpool, offering his side an important threat from corner kicks.

But his feats were dwarfed by Thomas Vermaelen, who despite starting last season injured for Arsenal, managed to score six goals, including vital late season winners over Newcastle and Everton in consecutive games.

Vermaelen has always been a regular scorer for the Gunners, but ever since taking the captain's armband last summer, the goals have dried up.

Neither Vermaelen or Kompany have managed to score a single Premier League goal all season.

Kompany has not scored at all for his club, while Vermaelen has only bagged one in the League Cup quarter-final defeat to Bradford City.

The reasons for Vermaelen's lack of goals are relatively easy to pinpoint in that he is out of form, and has been played out of position at left-back at times. Goals breed goals, and the confidence of scoring one encourages a player to try shots he may not otherwise, and Vermaelen is not his usual self at present.

But the real reason could be the departure of Alex Song. Mikel Arteta has performed well in defensive midfield, but does not offer the same shield the Cameroonian did, and as a result Vermaelen has been more reticent to bomb forward without the now Barcelona man being willing to seamlessly slot in at centre-back while he does.

For Kompany the issue could take the same form, with City selling top defensive midfielder Nigel de Jong, so far Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia have been hit and miss in replacing him, and the defender may share some of that scepticism.

Also for much of the campaign Kompany has been playing alongside inexperienced but talented Matija Nastasic, which could have encouraged him to throw himself forward less to leave his partner less isolated. There isn't anything wrong with him because he has scored twice for his country in World Cup qualifiers this season.

The defender has though been unfortunate with injuries- he has been out for several weeks with a calf injury but is due back shortly.

If City are to stand any chance of overhauling league leaders United, they may just need Kompany to step forward and lead by example, and the same goes for Arsenal and Vermaelen and their quest to finish in the top four.

Are you surprised by the pair's lack of goals this season?

image: © pigpilot

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