Aleksandar Kolarov – City’s unsung hero (Video)

Amidst the drama of the last five minutes in the Bernabeu last night, Aleksandar Kolarov’s contribution will probably once again go overlooked. Brought on to replace the injured Samir Nasri midway through the first half, Kolarov produced a solid performance on the left wing, defensively sound but attacking well when given the opportunity. His dribbling ability gave Madrid a scare or two as well as of course, his typically precise set piece deliveries, which appeared to have given City a barely deserved victory five minutes from time when a bending long-range free kick found itself eluding everyone and nestling into the back of the net.

Since arriving at the Etihad in 2010, Kolarov has never truly been accepted by the English media. The Serbian has been dubbed as too slow, defensively not good enough, not a hard enough worker for the team and certainly not as adept as the quicker, more industrious Gael Clichy. Indeed, every time Kolarov strides forward with purpose or scores with either a precise set piece or long range blockbuster, it is simply seen as a sign of Kolarov’s inadequacies rather than his talent as a player.

Kolarov however has proven himself to be a go to man for Mancini in times of trouble due to the Serb’s propensity to score or assist in the biggest of games, stepping up just when his team mates need him most. Despite his want to get forward, Kolarov is no goal machine but when he does score, it comes at crucial moments. Besides the goal last night in the Bernabeu, Kolarov scored City’s first ever goal in the Champions League to rescue a point at home to Napoli, again with a free kick. Additionally, Kolarov has scored in a Manchester Derby in the FA Cup while City would not have won the title last season were it not for Kolarov’s late equaliser at home to Sunderland when the game looked lost.

The Serb also shows great versatility and has played almost everywhere for Mancini, be it left back, left wing or even left wing-back during this season’s experimentation with a 3-4-1-2 formation. The signing of Clichy, who does play the majority of Premier League games would have angered some, but not Kolarov, who by all accounts is the ultimate professional and patiently bides his time, determined to strike when given his opportunity, just as he did last night in Madrid.

Kolarov is clearly no world beater. His lack of pace does get exposed at times by the quicker wide players, particularly in the Premier League, but as a very good squad player and one who can often conjure goals out of nothing with a flashing free kick, perhaps it is time we gave him a little more credit.

Adam Mazrani

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