The most unpredictable thing about the 4-2 victory against Viktoria Plzen wasn’t the score or the scorers, I’d suggest it was the name of the man who wore the captain’s armband for the Blues – Aleksander Kolarov.
As the teams headed out down the tunnel, below my seat in the press box, I was describing the scene, as normal, and found myself say “the team is led out by Aleks Kolarov, who must therefore by the captain tonight” as I looked down at the UEFA team sheet for confirmation. Sure enough, there was a little c next to his name!
I interviewed him after the game and in response to my question about how he felt wearing the captain’s armband he told me, “it’s a great honour for me, I’m nearly four years at this club. Of course we have our captains Vincent and Yaya and, as the boss said, now I am number three”. That’s an interesting revelation. What has happened to the vice-captain’s role that was once held by Pablo Zabaleta and Micah Richards?
Does the captaincy of the club matter anyway? In other sports it does, but in football it’s surely purely symbolic. The captain doesn’t influence tactics and is no longer the manager’s voice on the pitch, so what does the person nominated do, or what does it say about them. After a defeat, I’ve always thought that it’s the captain’s job to speak to the fans through the media, and after the Plzen game, Kolarov stepped up to the mike, even in victory, so he certainly did his job. So why have so many fans had such strong views, and many of them negative, when Kolarov wore the armband against the Czech team?
There was an incident at a recent home game when apparently a section of the home fans had a bit of a verbal spat with him, could that be a factor in certain negative views? There have been rumours for a while that he could leave the club, Juventus is often the name linked with him and the BBC Radio Manchester phone in often includes a called who questions his defensive capabilities.
If you were to pick your strongest City team, would Kolarov be in it?
Away from the captaincy, I’m beginning to think the long term future of Edin Dzeko is now under question. You can’t argue with his goalscoring record, but the impact of Alvaro Negredo has made many, including myself, wonder why the big Bosnian doesn’t put himself about like the Beast. He looks strong, but rarely bullies the opposition and his play outside the box and off the ball work is nowhere near the standard of Negredo and Aguero. To make matters worse he doesn’t hide his upset at not being a regular starter, his body language suggests he’s sulking, whether that’s true or not, only he knows, but he gives that impression.
Next up it’s Swansea, fit again Kompany is saved for wednesday’s trip to West Brom, Silva and Jovetic are 10 days away from playing and Nastasic will be out for 3 more weeks due to a calf injury.
Despite those problems who’d bet against another goal fest? Me – cos this is City, afterall!
– Ian Cheeseman