written for Sabotage Times.
Manchester City’s Goodison Park hoodoo has extinguished any lingering hopes of retaining their Premier League title this season after losing to Everton again. Trailing leaders, Manchester United, by 15 points with nine games remaining means that City’s destiny is all but mathematically confirmed as a result of yesterday’s horror show.
Sir Alex Ferguson is seemingly hell bent on regaining the Premier League title this season and his United side look almost impregnable in the league. With City still having to play United at Old Trafford and travel to White Hart Lane to play Tottenham before the season is out it is nigh on impossible that City will catch their bitter rivals.
City succumbed to a 2-0 defeat courtesy of a goal from Leon Osman in the first half and a late Nikica Jelavic strike. Despite playing against ten men for most of the second half and Everton having a goal wrongly disallowed for offside, City were unable to muster any kind of meaningful comeback. City may feel hard done by when they were awarded a free kick outside of the eighteen yard box, instead of a penalty, when Marouane Fellaini handled the ball inside the area but the truth is that the Citizens were woeful and only have themselves to blame.
Indeed, such was the nature of the performance at Goodison Park it is easy to see why United have seemingly won the League at a canter. City were insipid, slow and short of ideas both defensively and offensively. Couple that with bizarre team selections like Aleksander Kolarov ahead of a fully fit Gael Clichy it is no wonder City weren’t able to go some way to rectifying their atrocious record against Everton.
Logic suggests that a manager selects their best available players at all times, especially when facing a team which you are notorious for losing against. Kolarov’s selection ahead of Clichy will have left many City fans scratching their heads which leads me to ask what does Kolarov actually do?
In short, the answer is nothing. He is slow, cannot tackle and is horribly one footed. During the Everton game, he was repeatedly left flat footed allowing Everton all sorts of space down the left and resorted to committing silly fouls to try and compensate for his inability to defend. It wouldn’t be so bad if he had some pace to at least catch up with play for every time he gets skinned but he doesn’t.
When he gets forward there is slight reprieve as he does not have to defend anymore but what he offers offensively is nothing short of diabolical. His crosses are often so fast and aimless they have more chance of breaking a leg than creating a goal scoring chance. Any decent deliveries are often preceded and followed by utter dross.
Some say he is a set piece specialist but what value does that have in the game of football? Sure, he can score the odd nice free kick but I would rather have someone who can defend soundly and prevent goals being conceded than someone who caresses the ball nicely from a set piece once every couple of months.
Let’s not forget what City paid for him as well. For what was believed to be a fee of roughly £18m you would expect one of the best full backs in the world notAleksander Kolarov. Annoyingly, some of Kolarov’s worst performances have been overshadowed by one of his free kicks, prompting some idiots out there to coin the phrase “Kola-rocket” in some kind of bizarre affection for the worst, most expensive full back I have ever seen.
Take the away game at Real Madrid this season and the home game against Napoli last season: he turns in a woeful performance, is completely outplayed but then scores a nice looking free kick which seems enough to satisfy some supporters.
For me, Kolarov’s most positive contribution to Manchester City Football Club is his participation in the club’s rendition of the recent internet craze, the Harlem Shake, where he remained perfectly still while his team mates jumped around him wildly. Come to think of it, that is quite a nice metaphor for his and City’s season.
While I do not pin all blame for City’s car crash performance against Everton on Kolarov, it is high time he is sold in the summer. He offers next to nothing to the team and represents a huge dent in the club’s wage bill. As City’s title hopes have been firmly put to bed in the wake of yesterday’s result I sincerely hope Kolarov’s City career has been as well.