After a thrilling first leg, Monaco and Manchester City prepare to battle for a place in the Champions League last eight
In the team’s first meeting three weeks ago at the Etihad, Monaco went 2-1 up at half time before a chaotic comeback involving City scoring three goals in 11 minutes saw the hosts win the game 5-3. We could be in for more of the same when two teams with plenty of firepower and fragile defences meet at the Stade Louis II for the second leg.
Monaco need to overcome the deficit and should be inspired by Barcelona’s thrilling turnaround over Paris Saint-Germain along with their own impressive run in Ligue 1 this season. They sit three points clear at the top of the league, helped by their 84 league goals which is 26 more than title rivals PSG. They’ve bounced back since their defeat to City by winning their last four games on the spin and boast an impressive home record with just four losses in their last forty-five at the Stade Louis II. They certainly looked good enough to win or the draw the first leg but the all-out attack left them vulnerable and the team showed a lack of maturity in containing the game. At home they’ll fancy their chances of getting the goals they need but they’ll will also concede a few, they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet in seven of their last ten matches. They could also be without Radamel Falcao who is suffering from a hip injury and star centre-back Kamil Glik is suspended.
Manchester City don’t need a win here and have a big game in the Premier League against Liverpool on Sunday. But we’ve seen the effect a first-leg deficit can have on team in Barcelona’s remarkable comeback last week and City can’t afford to let Monaco’s attacking quality punish any mistakes. Pep Guardiola’s men have managed plenty of clean sheets recently, they’ve not leaked any goals in seven of their last ten games. However, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, and Sunderland are amongst those clean sheets and they are a far cry from the threat on goal that Monaco possesses. Guardiola will look to dominate possession and threaten goal frequently but with Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane’s reluctance to track back, Monaco can exploit the gaps left on the wings.
Despite a missed penalty we were still provided with eight goals in the first-leg and Monaco are the highest scoring team across Europe’s top five leagues. Expect another high scoring match with the hosts forced to incur the risks of all-out attack.