When people talk about Manchester City they invariably gush over the plethora of flair players available to Roberto Mancini: Silva, Aguero, Tevez, Nasri and the like.
But it is City’s two most direct and effective stars that will have won them the Premier League title if they can hold their nerve against QPR on Sunday.
Vincent Kompany has led his team by example this season, showing his commitment in the challenge at all times and physically dominating the majority of strikers he has come up against.
It’s no surprise that City’s sticky spell in March coincided with an injury to the big Belgian.
Yaya Toure has been colossal in midfield throughout the campaign, proving himself to be as much a defensive presence as an attacking powerhouse. When Toure went to the African Cup of Nations in January the side missed his ability to carry the ball and shoot from distance.
City’s 6ft 4in defender and 6ft 3in midfielder have simply towered over their team-mates this season, if you can excuse the pun.
These two heavyweights have been the key men responsible for the club standing on the brink of their first Premier League title in the Sky Sports era, set to join illustrious company among rivals Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and freshly-relegated Blackburn Rovers as the only teams to have won the trophy.
How both of them were overlooked for the PFA Player of the Year nominations is beyond me. Aguero was on the short-list but the leader and fulcrum of the team were ignored. Perhaps that can be explained by the tendency of awards to favour finishers.
Toure is usually deployed as a box-to-box midfielder by Mancini, and it’s a role he can fulfil well. But his true talents are fully utilised when the Ivorian is played further up the pitch, behind the strikers.
The Newcastle win highlighted how impressive Toure’s shooting ability is, and those two goals could be the most important in the history of the club.
Kompany is the sort of centre-back no striker wants to face. Built like a tank, City’s captain is a man you wouldn’t mind going into battle with. He certainly doesn’t mind throwing his physique around, and is so strong in the air.
His goal-scoring header in the Derby was so important as it gave his team the belief that they could beat the Champions. Leading from example, his celebrations showed just how much it means to him.
It is not all said and done yet in the title-race, and the fat lady still has to sing at the Etihad on Sunday, but even the most ardent United fan won’t be looking forward to this weekend’s fixtures with too much expectation.
Whatever does indeed happen, City will be building their team around Kompany and Toure in the future. Whilst United will need an overhaul in the summer, their cross-town rivals will be looking to add class to certain areas of their team, but these two can be assured of a starting spot for years to come.