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Head to head: Kolarov v Monreal

So how does the battle of the left-backs shape up ahead of Monday’s game against Arsenal?

Should the Gunners’ Nacho Monreal and Aleks Kolarov get the nod to start at the Emirates, it will be interesting to see who ends the game with the more productive stats.

So, using Opta’s in-depth analysis, we look at who is having the better campaign so far and how the battle down the flanks might shape up.

Games played: Monreal has played in all 16 of Arsenal’s Premier League games so far and with just 13 goals conceded to date, the Gunners have tightened up considerably at the back.

Kolarov has started 14 times in the league for the Blues this campaign, though Gael Clichy’s injury has meant the Blues have not shared the left-back role as perhaps it might have otherwise been.

Tackles: Monreal’s 42 tackles is more than double Kolarov’s 17, but City and Gunners play different styles so it’s a hard stat to read into.

Interceptions: Monreal has made 45 to Kolarov’s 25, but clearly City use their left-backs in a more attacking role and therefore the interceptions fall more to the holding midfielders for the Blues.

Crosses from open play: Further evidence of Kolarov’s advanced role in the City team can be seen by the amount of crosses the Serbian has put in this season. His 53 crosses is 10 more than Monreal’s with Aleks’ overlapping runs a regular feature of the Blues’ counter-attacks.

Passes – successful: While Monreal has made 721, he makes fewer accurate passes in the opposition half. Kolarov is on 602 successful passes to date and it’s worth remembering he’s played two games less.

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Clean sheets: Both players have taken part in seven clean sheets for their clubs…

Shots: As if to illustrate the differing roles in their teams, Kolarov comfortably leads this battle with 17 in total compared with Monreal’s two.

Career: Again, Aleks’ stats show he’s much more than just a defender. Aged 30, the Serbian international has racked up 373 appearances and scored 37 goals. Add 59 caps for Serbia and another seven goals and you have some pretty impressive stats.

Monreal, 29, has won 16 caps for Spain without scoring so far and made 341 club appearances in his career. His 16 goals for club and country is 28 less than Aleks.

In summary... Two quality left-backs, similar in a number of ways but at the same time, very different. Let battle commence…

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