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Monday 20 August 2018

Kompany predicts three-way battle for league title

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes the Premier League title race is destined to "get messy" with Arsenal joining the champions and Chelsea in a three-way battle.

Ten-man City fought back from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Jose Mourinho's table-toppers on Sunday, leaving the Londoners three points clear at the summit.

Southampton and Aston Villa occupy are second and third in the table but are unlikely challengers in the long run, meaning the Gunners and City look likeliest to lead the chase.

The weekend showdown at the Etihad Stadium was billed as the battle of the big hitters but Kompany believes Arsenal, who are one point better off than City and four off top spot, are ready to make it a scrap at the summit.

"It is not fair to call it at the moment," said Kompany.

"First of all we are not even close to Chelsea yet (in the table). Secondly, I have seen good things from Chelsea but I have seen maybe better things from Arsenal so I guess it will all be about consistency and, with the Champions League, it will get messy around December.

"It is too early to call. Five points is nothing but (Chelsea) have five points more than us, it is as simple as that.

"But it will get messy in December and January as it always does - or at least the last six years I have been here it has."

Kompany was in commanding form on Sunday, shutting down Diego Costa in a manner no other defender has yet managed this season.

It seemed improbable that Mourinho's side would have scored had Pablo Zabaleta not been sent off in the 66th minute, with Kompany well partnered by debutant Eliaquim Mangala.

The £32million Frenchman has had a lengthy wait for his first taste of English football but was muscular and dependable in a tough opening assignment.

"He was tremendous. I don't think he's played for five months," said Kompany.

"I think it is up to him how good he could be but it looks like he is eager to progress, which is important at his age (23) as he is still young.

"Obviously you can see he has all the basics to be more than a good defender. He will need some time, like everyone else, and with time he will improve. Going by this performance you will be looking forward to what he can achieve."

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