MANCHESTER City can blame the Uefa Financial Fair Play Regulations, the fixture congestion, or dud signings for the mess they are currently in.
The Citizens have only two wins in their last eight matches in all competitions, a poor run which culminated in the 2-4 thrashing at the hands of rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
But I think a big part of their recent slump in fortunes is down to the poor form of captain Vincent Kompany and midfield dynamo Yaya Toure.
They used to be City's dependable duo, often bailing the team out when their backs were up against the wall.
Toure's 20 goals went a long way to securing the English Premier League (EPL) title last season, while Kompany was instrumental in City boasting the second-best defensive record when they lifted the EPL trophy.
This season, however, the form of both these key players has been patchy at best.
Kompany has made numerous mistakes throughout this campaign, most notably in the 1-2 defeat by Liverpool last month, when he allowed Philippe Coutinho to rob him for the Reds' first goal.
Toure, 31, has found the net only eight times this term, and has only one goal and zero assists in his last six EPL matches.
While I think Kompany's inconsistency is the result of his injury problems, I believe it is time for City and Toure to part ways.
It is clear from the Ivorian's body language that he needs a new challenge at this stage of his career.
It's not that he has become a bad player overnight. Make no mistake, on his day, he is still one of the world's best players.
But this is something that affects most footballers.
When you are at a club for a long time, and after you've won a few titles, sometimes you get too comfortable, because you know that you can make the starting XI week in, week out.
Trust me, I've had that feeling before.
Against United, Toure was one of a few players who stopped chasing back. Some of them were just going through the motions.
It was obvious the Red Devils were targeting City's full-backs, but there was no help from the other players. There was no hunger and no desire.
Changing coaches will not solve the problem. Manuel Pellegrini, like Louis van Gaal, is an experienced coach, and knows how to win at the highest level.
Instead, what the Sky Blues need is a core of new, preferably young players, eager to kick on in the EPL and prove themselves in one of the toughest leagues in the world.
And they have to start by parting ways with their underachieving stars, starting with Toure.
This article was first published on Apr 14, 2015.
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