When Fulham face Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon (3pm), our hosts will be led out by their title-winning captain Vincent Kompany, after the club were successful with their appeal to have his red card overturned.
The centre-back was dismissed for a challenge on Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere last Sunday and Fulham boss Martin Jol believed the incident was similar to the one which saw our own captain sent off earlier in the season.
“He [Kompany] will play against us, that is the only reality,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “They appealed and they were successful and we didn’t do that in a similar situation for Brede Hangeland.
“We didn’t appeal because normally you won’t be successful, but they were successful so maybe it’s something for the future because I still feel that the tackle by Brede was a good tackle and was misjudged on the day.
“You’ve always got the right, as a club, and Manchester City did that and we didn’t put an appeal in. My fear was that instead of a three game suspension it would have been four games. That could have happened with him but they did [appeal] and they were successful so all credit to them, because I didn’t feel it was a real red card.”
City’s captain is a player that Jol knows from their brief time together in Germany with SV Hamburger and our Manager is well aware of the qualities he possesses.
“Kompany is maybe the best defender in England,” he admitted. “He’s called the Prince in Belgium and I think he was 16 when he played in the first team for Anderlecht.
“He was the biggest talent and biggest defender over the last two decades and he must be one of the best defenders ever to play for Belgium. That is why Belgium have got a great team with all these youngsters who are playing now for the national team.
“They are arguably one of the better teams in Europe now. Vincent has got all the qualities; he’s quick, he’s strong, he’s athletic and he can score goals from set plays. I think if there is one player who deserved the award for Best Defender last year it was him.”