Aleksandar Kolarov could spark a new attacking threat from City
When Aleksandar Kolarov arrived at Manchester City it was with a massive price tag, a big reputation and a great reputation of an immense ability to take free-kicks, so needless to say he came in with massive expectations from his new supporters. However, an injury picked up against Tottenham on the opening day of the season sidelined the Serbian for three months, but since his return Kolarov has increasingly impressed for the Eastland side.
The former Lazio man has a reputation as a forward thinking left-back with a penchant for sweetly struck set-pieces. So far the majority of his 18 appearances for the Citizens have been in defence, but during Saturday’s 3-0 victory over West Brom Kolarov made an impact from a more advanced left-wing position. Kolarov was brought down for the opening penalty, almost got on the score sheet with a trademark blast from range, provided a steady stream of quality crosses, and generally offered a persistent and penetrative threat down his flank.
At times this season Roberto Mancini has been criticised for his defensive approach, but the emergence of Kolarov could have a great influence on how City will go from here. Barring Wayne Bridge, who has since been sent on loan to West Ham, all of City’s full-backs are naturally deployed defenders. Mancini argued that this hindered his team’s attacking abilities as the full-backs were not providing enough liveliness going forward to supplement the creative forces, and now that the attack-minded Kolarov is back, where will he be used to get the best out of his abilities?
If your full-backs can be utilised as a legitimate attacking apparatus it effectively gives you an additional attacking option. City’s full-backs previously offered limited supply, and that placed an extra pressure on their midfield men to get forward and support Carlos Tevez up front. By keeping a fortified back four, City had an over-emphasis on their defensive line-up and as such, not offering enough of an attacking threat. There would not be a lot of changes if Kolarov was used as a left-winger, as he would have to rely on defensive cover from other left-backs. Had Kolarov been used at left-back, however, he would have offered a new attacking force to the City team as well as sufficient defensive cover from the same position.
Lately there has been quintet of midfielders playing for City, but with Kolarov’s inclusion at left-back it would offer extra attacking options for Mancini. This option would also enable Silva, Tevez, and Dzeko to form a front-three, while Milner could accompany either one of De Jong, Barry, Vieira and Yaya Toure in the centre of the park. So with the Serbian slotted in at left-back, and given more freedom to attack, it would enable the other attacking options to enter the field at the City of Manchester Stadium in a wave that could spark a newly found appreciation for the Manchester based club’s attacking display.