Written by Tom Owen
MANCHESTER CITY V AS MONACO
When this fixture was drawn back in December, many fans would have predicted that it would be a relatively easy tie for Manchester City. However, Monaco are currently 1st in Ligue 1 and are determined to stop Paris Saint Germain’s domination of the league. The team from the south of France have been aided by the revival of once world class striker Radamel Falcao. The Colombian has 22 goals so far in all competitions. Monaco will field a plethora of exciting talents at the Etihad such as Bernado Silva, Thomas Lemar and Kylian Mbappe Lottin. Monaco have done well to progress to the knockout round, topping a tricky group containing Leverkusen, Tottenham and CSKA Moscow. They started their campaign off brilliantly with a 2-1 win over Spurs at Wembley. However in the following two fixtures they just rescued a point thanks to late goals from Bernado Silva and Kamil Glik. Due to the poor form of Tottenham, struggling to adapt to their new surroundings at Wembley, completing the double over them ensured that they would go through to the knockout rounds. Even though they suffered a 3-0 loss to Bayern Leverkusen on the last matchday, Leonardo Jardim’s men still finished top of group E. Monaco will go into the game as underdogs even due to their unstoppable form this season. However, Man City may be in for a surprise.
Manchester City have endured a bittersweet opening half of Pep Guardiolas first season. The news of the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona managers appointment has been greeted with great optimism around Manchester. City had a superb start to their season going unbeaten in August and September. This great run included a 6-0 aggregate thrashing of Steaua Bucharest in the Champions League Qualifying Playoff and a 2-1 win over rivals Manchester United. Their league form stuttered in the following months, dropping points to the likes of Everton, Southampton and Middlesbrough. In the Champions league, City scored a lot of goals but also let a lot in. The thrashed Gladbach 4-0. However they were held to an entertaining 3-3 draw at Celtic Park. They were ripped apart at the Camp Nou by a clinical Barcelona but got revenge in a 3-1 win at the Etihad where Kevin De Bruyne scored a beautiful free kick. That win all but ensured that City would advance to the knockout phase and they finished the group with two 1-1 draws against Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic respectively. Since then City have hovered around the Champions League places in the Premier League but have never constructed a consistent enough run of results to challenge Chelsea. City fans would be looking to emulate their Champions League performance last season and some may even be hopeful of reaching the Final in Cardiff. However Monaco have an exciting squad who have beaten PSG and Tottenham this season. The likes of Sergio Aguero (back in the squad after Gabriel Jesus’ injury) Kevin De Bruyne and co will have to be wary of Monaco and cannot see their sights on the quarter finals and beyond just yet.
What is your prediction for this match? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image by Smabs Sputzer