BOLTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Martin Petrov of Bolton Wanderers scores from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Bolton Wanderers and Norwich City at Reebok Stadium on September 17, 2011 in Bolton, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Bulgaria is known for many things: Beautiful mountain ranges, Black Sea resorts, Mafia-related corruption, and Olympic weight-lifting teams. Footballers have become more significant, our own left-winger among them. Shockingly, at age 33, fighting in a relegation battle, a player never known for his work ethic has managed to put together perhaps his best individual season.
Martin Petrov has started thirty-four matches this season, all of them on the left wing. He has scored six goals in all competitions. That is not a great return, but considering our squad, it is downright prolific. Petrov also has nine assists, a good sign from a winger, especially one who puts in as many crosses as Petrov does. Pair that with his propensity for long range rockets and you have a real threat going forward.
Some believe that Petrov doesn't do enough defensively, that playing him every week is part of what has Bolton leaking goals (We've leaked goals regardless of who plays if we're honest). I understand the argument, but I don't believe it.
I think he has actually played well defensively the past couple months. Of course, the improvement coincided with Samuel Ricketts' return and Paul Robinson's departure. And I am in the majority, as Martin Petrov has already claimed the club's official Player of the Year Award.
Petrov is known best for rampaging runs down the left side leading to great crosses, as well as cutting inside and shooting from the right side. He is also very good from dead ball situations, a talent that has been severely lacking for large parts of this season.
Whether we stay up or not, Petrov has been a large part of what has gone right for Bolton Wanderers in 2011-2012. Admittedly, that is a short list, but he is right at the top of it.